2.1 Baile Chláir
2.1 Metropolitan Settlement Baile Chláir
2.2 Town Context
Baile Chláir is located approximately 10 kilometres northeast of Galway city, within the County Galway Gaeltacht. The village is located within the Galway metropolitan area and as such forms part of the Galway MASP. The village is situated where the N83 Galway to Sligo (Collooney) National Secondary Road crosses the River Clare. It is also on the junction with the R381, Galway to Limerick National Primary Route, which links onto the M6 Galway to Dublin, National Primary route and the N18/M18.
Baile Chláir hosts a number of local shops, commercial/business units and two hotels with associated facilities (leisure centre), educational facilities are provided for those residing within the village, immediate hinterland and a large number of people who travel on the N83 from Mayo/Sligo to Galway on a daily/weekly basis. Baile Chláir takes a linear form stretching from north of the Clare River to south of the N83 and R381 junction.
The Office of Public Works recently has carried out drainage works in Baile Chláir to alleviate flooding and a new bridge has been constructed. The northern extremity of the village comprises of an ecclesiastical cluster with the Castle and the remains of the Franciscan Friary, a graveyard and the remains of the medieval parish church providing an impressive backdrop for the village on the banks of the Clare River.
2.3 Sustainable Communities
The metropolitan settlement of Baile Chláir due to its proximity to Galway city has experienced significant growth over the last 20 years and continues to be a popular location for new residential developments. The house types include a range of terraced, semi detached and detached housing that are both predominately bungalow and two storeys dwellings. There are also a number of commercial/retail and community buildings located along the N83 within the town centre.
A key purpose of this metropolitan settlement plan will be to provide additional housing development into the future that conforms to the principles of quality and sustainability in terms of design and layout particularly. The principles of quality, sustainability and inclusivity must be foremost in future residential development in Baile Chláir. New multiple housing schemes within the plan area should provide for an appropriate variety of residential units to meet the current and future demands of the village and be responsive to their local context, in terms of design, layout and density. Residential developments within Baile Chláir must accord with the policy objective in relation to the allocation of housing units for Irish speaking families.
2.3.2 Town Centre/Retail
Baile Chláir enjoys a reasonably busy Town Centre with the main commercial activity located to the north western side of the N83 from Hughes’s Super Valu in the southern edge of the town centre towards The Arches Hotel to the northern edge of the town centre. The plan for the next six years includes a Town Centre zoning which includes the main commercial area fronting onto the N83. This town centre zoning also includes lands to the south east of the N83 located centrally within the village and lands to the south east of junction of the N83 and the R381 which includes lands identified as Town Centre/infill (see Baile Chláir land use zoning map). The consolidation of the village centre in Baile Chláir to accommodate future growth helps to combat urban sprawl by providing a more compact form of urban development and the basis for a sustainable urban community.
2.3.3 Employment and Economic Development
There is a Business Park located of the N18, with a number of the units occupied with commercial businesses. The zoning attributed to these lands are Business and Enterprise. The Castle in Baile Chláir has been renovated in recent years and it is a tourist attraction and holds a number of festivals held on the grounds of the castle especially during the summer months.
2.3.4 Community Facilities
Community facilities are essential to the well-being and functioning of sustainable communities, contributing to an overall better quality of life. They include facilities for education, childcare, sports and recreation, arts and culture, health and social purposes, burial grounds, places of worship etc. In Baile Chláir, the significant growth in development and population over the last twenty years has not been matched by the provision of supporting community infrastructure, resulting in increased pressures on the existing community facilities and services in place. It is therefore important that the provision of new community facilities in the County Development Plan meets the current and future requirements of the local community over the plan period and are provided at locations that are easily accessible by foot, cycling or public transport.
In recent years Coláiste Bhaile Chláir (secondary school) was constructed adjacent to Baile Chláir Business Park. The school is a co-educational, multidenominational Community College and was founded in 2013.The Claregalway Educate Together primary school is located on the same campus to the north western end of the site.
The Claregalway National School is located circa 0.4km north west of Claregalway Educate Together and is located to the east of the R381 on the approach to the junction with the N83 and the village centre.
Educational facilities will be supported where appropriate within lands zoned in the Baile Chláir Metropolitan Settlement Plan.
2.3.6 Environment and Heritage
There are a number protected structures within the metropolitan settlement of Baile Chláir, which are listed in the RPS contained in the Galway County Development Plan which includes Claregalway Bridge (RPS No. 108) and Claregalway Castle (RPS No. 110). There are also a number of archaeological Recorded Monuments within the plan area predominately to the north of the settlement in close proximity to Claregalway Abbey and Claregalway Castle.
The Clare river runs through the northern edge of the settlement of Baile Chláir and drains to Lough Corrib. This river forms part of the Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation which is a designated ecological site of European importance.
It is important to acknowledge the unique cultural identity that a settlement like Baile Chláir displays and ensure that new development supports and complements same.
The settlement of Baile Chláir and its wider rural hinterland has a rich cultural heritage as evident by the presence of Claregalway Castle and Claregalway Abbey within the settlement boundary and also by the Forge and Museum located toto the north of the village. It is important that new developments would be respectful of this existing heritage. The Council will support in principle development proposals which would enhance the cultural heritage of these sites as appropriate.
Another important feature of the cultural heritage in Baile Chláir is its Gaeltacht status within the Conamara Gaeltacht. Therefore, it is important to ensure that new development respects the historical and cultural heritage of Baile Chláir and protects and enhances its Gaeltacht status and linguistic heritage, in accordance with the provisions of the County Development Plan. It is imperative that the Irish language in Baile Chláir is safeguarded and promoted in the village through appropriate planning conditions, including the naming of estates, signage, and the allocation of a proportion housing units in new housing developments for Irish speakers.
2.4 Services and Infrastructure
2.4.1 Wastewater Disposal
In recent years a new municipal wastewater treatment plant has been provided by Irish Water in Baile Chláir. The treatment plant has the capacity to meet the current and future residential and industrial development needs of the Baile Chláir
2.4.2 Water Services
Baile Chláir is serviced by the public mains water supply. The plan will support the provision for maintenance and enhancements to this supply to safeguard the future development of the village.
2.4.3 Transportation Infrastructure and Movement
The Plan promotes and supports efficiency of traffic circulation and management around the village and facilitates the appropriate provision of parking, convenient to the village centre.
The Plan supports the completion of the N17 Baile Chláir By-pass. The development of this bypass would significantly reduce the volume of traffic which comes through the village each day and would enhance the quality of environment in the centre of the village and improve traffic safety, circulation and management in Baile Chláir.
The Plan also recognises and supports the importance of sustainable transport, including the effective
integration of land use and transportation, encouraging a modal shift from private transport to cycling, walking and public transport. To encourage such a modal shift requires improvements to the existing
public footpath network in the village over the plan period to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians. Furthermore, it is essential that all new developments focus on connectivity and link with the existing footpath network, so that connectivity is realised and utilised within the village and that a ‘leap-frogging’ form of development is not permitted.
2.5 Climate Change and Flooding
As outlined in Chapter 14 Climate Change, Energy and Renewable Resource, climate change continues to have a direct effect on peoples live, society and economy. The plan seeks the creation of well-planned communities, where travel distances to education, work and services are reduced, enhancement of walking and cycling facilities and where appropriate local renewable and low carbon energy sources are integrated. A stage 2 Flood Risk Assessment has been carried out on the Baile Chláir settlement plan which has identified areas at risk of flooding, including fluvial, coastal, pluvial and groundwater flooding. A flood risk map is contained in Section 4 of this metropolitan plan.
Policy Objectives Baile Chláir (Baile Chláir Metropolitan Settlement Plan – BCMSP )
BCMSP 1 Sustainable Residential Communities
Promote the development of appropriate and serviced lands to provide for high quality, well laid out and well landscaped sustainable residential communities with an appropriate mix of housing types and densities, together with complementary land uses such as community facilities, local services and
public transport facilities, to serve the residential population of Baile Chláir metropolitan settlement plan. Protect existing residential amenities and facilitate compatible and appropriately designed new infill development, in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the plan area. Specifically encourage living over the shop which can contribute to the vitality of the core and extend activity beyond business hours.
BCMSP 2 Sustainable Town Centre
Promote the development of Baile Chláir, as an intensive, high quality, well landscaped and accessible environment, with an appropriate mix of uses, including residential, commercial, service, tourism, enterprise, public and community uses as appropriate, that provide a range of retail services, facilities and amenities to the local community and visitors. The town centre and associated main street shall remain the primary focus for retail and service activity within these plan areas.
BCMSP 3 Community Facilities and Services
(a). Promote the development of community facilities on suitable lands/sites, in Baile Chláir settlement with a high level of access to the local community, including educational, community, civic, public, institutional, recreational, cultural and other complementary uses, as appropriate.
(b). Reserve lands for the provision of community facilities for the purpose of playground.
(c ). Reserve lands for the provision of community facilities for the purpose of a graveyard
BCMSP 4 Business & Enterprise
Promote the development of business and enterprise uses, light industry/warehousing and the facilitation of enterprise park/office park type uses, incubation/start-up units and Small Medium Enterprises, on suitable lands in Baile Chláir metropolitan settlement plan areas with adequate services and facilities and with a high level of access to the major road networks and to public transport facilities.
BCMSP 5Public Infrastructure
Support and encourage infrastructural development and improvement works that benefit Baile Chláir, and the wider region
BCMSP 6 Pedestrian and Cycle Network
Encourage and support the development of a series of pedestrian and cycle routes linking the residential areas to the town centre and local community services where feasible.
BCMSP 7 Transportation and Urban Renewal Framework Strategy
Prepare a Traffic, Transportation and Urban Renewal Framework Strategy for the Town over the lifetime of the plan which would include consideration of a revised Traffic Management Plan and;
(a)Redevelopment of Opportunity Sites within the Plan area.
(b) Support and promote efficiency of traffic circulation and management around Baile Chláir and to facilitate the appropriate provision of parking convenient to the town centre.
(c) The provision of a network of designated walking and cycling routes to provide safe and convenient connectivity between the town’s main residential areas and other principal areas of the town including schools.
BCMSP 8 Baile Chláir Bypass
To support the delivery of the Baile Chláir Bypass.
BCMSP 9 Irish Language
Protect and promote the Irish language as the first community language of the Baile Chláir area, including:
Signage shall be principally through the medium of Irish with internationally recognised symbols.
BCMSP 10 Language Enurement Clause
A Language Enurement Clause will be applied on a portion of residential units in development of two or more units in Baile Chalir. The proportion of homes to which a language enurement clause will be a minimum of 20% or to the proportion of persons using Irish Language on a daily basis, in accordance with the latest published Census, whichever is greater.
BCMSP 11 Indicative Access points for Development.
Reserve access points to developable lands/ backland areas as indicated on Land Use Zoning map for Baile Chláir.
BCMSP 12 Non Conforming Uses
Where existing uses do not conform with the land use zoning objectives or matrix of the plan, the Authority shall facilitate/support their relocation to more sustainable and appropriately zoned lands.