1 - Economic Development and Planning Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 1 (Economic Development and Planning Policy) held at 11.00 a.m. on Friday, 13th September, 2002 in the Lecture Room, Central Fire Station, St. Anne’s Place, Sligo


  • Barry,
  • Bree,
  • Colleary
  • Devins.


  • Seamus Kilgannon, (Irish League of Credit Unions).


  • Mr. Pat Forkan, Director of Services,
  • Mr. Brendan Carolan, Senior Planner,
  • Mr. Declan Breen, S. E. O.
  • Mr. Fineen O’Driscoll, Senior Executive Engineer,
  • Ms. Fionnuala Meagher, Senior Executive Planner,
  • Mr. Gabriel Browne, Administrative Officer,
  • Ms. Jo-Anne McGonigle, Assistant Staff Officer.


Councillor Bree asked that the undertaking given at the meeting in relation to the re-arranging of dates be recorded.  It was agreed that, once a meeting had been arranged with the consent of the Members, it would not be re-arranged.  It was agreed by those present to have this decision recorded and that this would be the arrangement for future meetings.

It was then proposed by S. Kilgannon and
Seconded by D. Bree

“That the minutes of the Strategic Policy Committee No. 1 meeting held on 26th June, 2002 be confirmed”.


At the outset of the discussions, Mr. P. Forkan, Director of Services welcomed the Press to the Meeting and said that this was the start of the work on the Strandhill Local the Strandhill Local Area Plan and that the content of the Plan was, in parts, confidential at this stage.  The local Councillors for the Strandhill area had not, as yet, had an opportunity to view this presentation.

Mr. B. Carolan advised the meeting that the County Council are trying to develop a template for the local area plans.  As yet, the specific zonings contained in the presentation were not in the public domain.

Ms. F. Meagher gave a detailed presentation with the assistance of a number of maps of the Strandhill area and its environs.  Work had started on this Plan at the end of 1998-early 1999.  At that time, notice had been given inviting interested parties to make submissions.  In 1999 a large number of written submissions had been received together with meetings and discussions with the local community.  At the end of this process, a list of key issues for the community was arrived at.  In May 2000, the draft proposals were presented.  At that time, Members had been satisfied to move on and complete the Plan.  The process had to be temporarily parked as the staff involved had to return to work in the Planning Department.  The meeting was informed that a new team was now on board including Ms. Mihaela Davidescu who had carried out a lot of work on this Plan and Mr. Tommy Gallagher, Technician.  Ms. Meagher also informed the meeting that new technology developed over that time is also of great benefit in this process.  The Draft Plan is on course to be completed by the end of October 2002.  Another notice had been published in the summer of 2002 and there had been some further contacts.  It was found, however, that most submissions had been received at the earlier stage in 1999.

At this stage, Ms. Meagher gave a presentation with the use of a number of maps and drawings.  Among the information outlined was the following:

  • Population estimated for 2002 at 1,100 persons - an estimated increase of 44% since the 1996 Census.  The population estimate for 2007 is 1,530 persons, i.e. a 39% increase from 2002-2007. 
  • According to the 1996 Census, the population aged between 25-44 was 30% and the working age population is 68%.


Key issues for the local community:

  • Discontinue ribbon development on village fringes,
  • Provide for mix of housing types and needs,
  • Make provision for commercial focal point,
  • Provide for multi-functional community centre,
  • Improve and augment existing sports/recreational facilities,
  • Improve village road safety,
  • Relieve seafront congestion,
  • Develop walking/heritage trails,
  • Protect archaeological and amenity resources and
  • Establish tourism identity and improve tourism product.

Members were advised that this is a framework for the future development of the village.  The Plan cannot deliver everything but it may facilitate the delivery.  Work will be required by a number of groups, i.e. the community, the local authority, developers and interested groups with guidance from the prescribed bodies.

Following a query from Deputy Devins, it was clarified that the Plan catered for Strandhill village and the hinterland.  Among the other topics raised by members and responded to by officials present were constraints, identification of lands use, draft zoning proposals.

The proposed timetable was set out as follows:

  • September - October 2002:  Complete Draft Plan,
  • Friday, 13th September, 2002: Progress report for SPC1
  • Friday, 27th September, 2002: Progress report for Sligo/Strandhill Area Committee,
  • End October 2002: Submit Draft Plan to Members,
  • Monday 4th November, 2002: Presentation on Draft Plan at Ordinary Council Meeting,
  • Wednesday 13th November, 2002: Put Draft Plan on public display and publish notice in local press inviting submissions/observations,
  • By end November 2002: Make presentation on Draft Plan at public meeting in Strandhill,
  • Friday 27th December, 2002: Closing date for submissions,
  • January 2003: Prepare Manager’s Report on submissions and submit to Members.

Members have six weeks to adopt the Plan in accordance with the Manager’s recommendations unless they decide, by resolution, to make modifications or not to adopt the Plan.

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Barry, asked about the proposal to move Sligo Racecourse to Strandhill and asked was there sufficient space left to facilitate a racecourse.  In response, Ms. Meagher advised the meeting that Duchas had serious concerns about this proposal.  Councillor Bree asked that if accommodation was made for the racecourse, would major changes have to be made to the Plan.  He also asked what consultation had taken place between Sligo County Council and the Racecourse Committee.

In reply, the Director of Services told the Members that he had attended a meeting in Sligo Airport with representatives of the Racecourse Committee.  Mr. J. O’Dwyer, SEO had also been in attendance.  Their Plan had been outlined for an area near the sewerage treatment plant. The main issue for the local authority was that quite a portion of their proposal was in a designated area and the Committee had been advised to negotiate with Duchas.  No further contact had been made since that meeting and it was felt that Duchas hold the key to this proposal as it affected by the natural heritage area and special area for conservation.

Deputy Devins asked what land was currently in the Council’s ownership and these areas were identified on the map for the meeting.

In response to queries raised by Members about various zoning issues, Mr. B. Carolan advised the meeting that officials were sensitive to the notion of moving anything within the area.  Most of the development is spread unevenly at present.  The zoning, as set out, is in response to the concerns expressed in the submissions received.

A discussion took place regarding the right-of-way/access to Culleenamore beach.  It was clarified by Mr. D. Breen and Mr. B. Carolan that it is not clear whether this is a public right of way but that this is being investigated at present.

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Barry, thanked Ms. Meagher for her presentation.


Mr. B. Carolan outlined the current position regarding the Plan.

Draft chapters have been completed jointly by the National Building Agency and Planning staff as follows:

  • Strategic context (building on draft sub-regional strategy which looks at growth models and possible form)
    • Sligo – an overview,
    • Sligo Today,
    • Strategic vision,
    • Developing a Strategy,
    • Future land use structure.
  • Employment, enterprise and economic development,
  • Effective transport and circulation,
  • Housing strategy, residential developments and neighbourhoods,
  • Engineering, Infrastructure and Utilities,
  • Archaeology,
  • Recreation and
  • Urban edge.

Appendices on Population and Record of Protected Structures.

Key Issues –
  1. Realistic growth targets, especially in context of National Spatial Strategy,
  2. Transport and circulation,
  3. Open spaces and linkages,
  4. Balanced housing development,
  5. Under-utilised space, especially backlands,
  6. Port and urban decay – need for regeneration.
Next stage –

Feedback on chapters from the Departments of Sligo Borough Council and Sligo County Council.  This will need to be refined/edited by the National Building Agency/Planning Section.  It is then hoped to have the draft to Members by the 21st October or thereabouts.

Following Mr. Carolan’s report, Cllr. Bree welcomed comments made in connection with the Port and was pleased that discussions were taking place with the Harbour Board.  Deputy Devins agreed with these comments and felt that a very progressive Board are currently in place.

It was proposed by Cllr. Barry and
Seconded by Deputy Devins

“That a delegation from Sligo Harbour Board be invited to meet with the Members of the Strategic Policy Committee for Economic Development and Planning Policy.  A special meeting of the SPC1 to be arranged for this purpose”

It was agreed that Thursday, 26th September at 4.30 p.m. in the Training Room, County Hall, Riverside would be suggested as a possible arrangement and Members would be advised if it was suitable to Sligo Harbour Board.


Deputy Devins asked if the Draft Plan for Sligo City and Environs would be as detailed as the one prepared for Hazelwood-Bellanode.  It was confirmed by Mr. Carolan that the Plan being prepared is an overview identifying core areas.  It will be a zoning map for the town and its environs.  The view had been expressed by the Department of the Environment and Local Government that it was better to have a flexible approach.

Venue for Meetings:

On the suggestion of the Cathaoirleach it was agreed that, where possible, a venue of similar size to the Lecture Room would be used for SPC meetings.  It was agreed to arrange future meetings in the Training Room as it facilitated presentations and had the necessary technology and seating arrangements for this purpose.

Sea Road Access:

Mr. S. Kilgannon advised the meeting that the new link to Finisklin Industrial Estate via the Sea Road was now open and was proving to be very beneficial.

The meeting concluded at 12.25 p.m.

Meeting Date 13/09/2002