Sunday, 10 January 2010

Planning For A Brighter Future In County Clare

An action aimed at harnessing the industrial and tourism potential of the
Shannon Estuary is among a series of measures outlined in the Draft Clare
County Development Plan 2011-2017.

The strategy has been unanimously approved by members of Clare County
Council following a year-long review process. It will be placed on public
display in two weeks before going through a 10-week public consultation

Once approved, the Plan will pave the way for the zoning over 700 Hectares
of land for 'Marine Related Industry' at locations along the Shannon
Estuary, the provision of Electric Vehicle charge points throughout the
County, the implementation of a County's first Wind Energy Strategy, the
development of an inventory of community, social and cultural facilities
throughout Clare, and a requirement for all new buildings and houses to have
a low level access shower and toilet on the ground floor to ensure access
for all.

The Draft Clare County Development Plan 2011-2017 sets out an overall
strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the
functional area of Clare County Council. When adopted the six year blueprint
will replace the existing County Development Plan 2005 and it will be the
sixth such Plan since 1964.

Mayor of Clare Councillor Tony Mulcahy welcomed the unanimous adoption of
the Draft Plan. He noted: "The primary goal of this Plan is to position
County Clare as a driver for local and regional growth through harnessing
the potential of its unique location, quality of life, natural resources and
other competitive advantages. Ultimately, the Plan seeks to make County
Clare a better place to live in, work and visit."

Commenting on the proposed zoning of large tracts of land along the Shannon
Estuary, County Manager Tom Coughlan stated: "The Estuary because of its
deep water, shelter and other natural advantages is a significant potential
asset for the county and for the first time the Draft Development Plan
introduces a chapter aimed at developing the Estuary for various economic
and recreational uses. In addition to this, the Draft Plan introduces new
proactive policies in relation to economic development and enterprise in the
county including in rural areas."

He continued: "The Draft Plan has a strong emphasis on renewable energy
production, storage and distribution and for the first time contains a
separate Wind Energy Strategy for County Clare aimed at further tapping into
the potential of the significant wind resources of the county subject to the
normal environmental safeguards. The Draft Plan includes also for the first
time a chapter dealing specifically with Rural Development and Natural

The Draft Plan also includes

- A proposal that all new buildings and houses would be required to
have a low level access shower and toilet. This measure aimed at ensuring
the lifetime adaptability of homes in particular would be in excess of the
minimum requirements of the current building regulations and will prevent
the need for expensive retrofitting in many cases
- A separate volume a Record of Protected Structures for the county
and includes a photograph and description of over 500 buildings and
structures already protected and a further 200 that are proposed for
- An innovative and forward thinking proposal that in future certain
developments will be required to provide facilities to allow for charging of
electric cars and vehicles
- A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment carried out in light of new
Guidelines issues to Planning Authorities on Flood Risk Management.

The Draft Clare County Development Plan 2011-2017 will be available in
public offices, libraries and on the internet at in late
January 2010. Public exhibitions and various stakeholder meetings will also
be held around the County and written submissions will be invited. At the
end of the public consultation period, the Manager's Report on any issues
arising will be prepared and submitted to Members in June 2010.

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