THE MIDWEST Regional Authority is calling on local authorities in the midwest not to zone any more land for retail development and to dezone land already zoned for housing in the region.
In the draft regional planning guidelines for Limerick city and county, Clare and north Tipperary 2010 to 2022, the authority says the amount of large-scale retail development either built or permitted meets all reasonable requirements up to 2022. “It is clear, therefore, that further retail development will inevitably have detrimental impacts on some existing established retail areas and that these impacts may be irreversible.
“Limerick city centre, which has already suffered from increased competition is likely to suffer further significant impacts which would be contrary to the objective and need to provide a vibrant and successful gateway core area,” it adds. Outlining the implications for local authorities’ development plans in the region, the guidelines state that councils “should provide for no net increase in floor space of large retail developments other than that arising from redevelopment projects, including regeneration, in town and city”.
The authority is also calling on councils to act on overzoning for housing in the region.
In the guidelines, the regional authority has ruled that the Government’s Special Development Zone (SDZ) approach is not an appropriate mechanism for development in the region. The SDZ approach allows for local authorities to be bypassed with applications decided by An Bord Pleanála.
The report says the authority established a Strategic Development Zone committee to consider whether, where and for what purpose an SDZ might be identified within the region. “After a considerable number of meetings, this committee completed its remit and decided that the SDZ model would not be beneficial,” it states.