2.12 Town Context
Oranmore town is now located within the Metropolitan area of County Galway. It is located 7km to the east of the city centre at the inner shoreline of Galway Bay. It has grown considerably in recent years, the original village form is still evident. The town centres on the junction of two roads, namely Main Street and the Old Dublin Road. There are a range of active commercial uses in and around the town centre area. There are also areas of employment including industrial processing in designated sites on the northern periphery of the town. Its coastal location brings many benefits and challenges, for example the challenge of climate change but is also a welcome visual amenity to the area.
Oranmore is a desirable place to live given its proximity to the City and attractive living environment. Convenient access to the motorway and rail networks is also attractive attributes that have contributed to the significant growth of Oranmore into a Metropolitan Town in recent years. Over the coming years it will be imperative to ensure that growth in this town is sustainable, sequential and plan led. This will facilitate the development of an enhanced and vibrant town in Metropolitan County Galway.
2.13 Sustainable Communities
There are a small number of residential properties within the main street of Oranmore with additional larger detached properties with large plot sizes along the Old Dublin Road. It can be easily seen how the town has grown outwards sequentially from the town centre in a radial pattern. This development is characterised by recent low and medium density suburban type housing. A significant amount of this housing has been constructed in the last 20 years and development in the town’s environs continues to the present day. Apartment and duplex type accommodation also characterise the residential areas in Oranmore. This residential development has taken place to the north, east and south of the existing town centre and it will progress even further within the plan period.
For the most part, these residential areas are within walking distance of the town centre and are accessible by footpath which is welcomed and encouraged. There is a requirement to improve the cycle network on the approach to the town from the outlying residential areas. This settlement plan will insist on safe and high-quality pedestrian and cycle connectivity to local services such as schools, shops and community facilities.
The provision of housing will be based on the delivery of high quality sustainable residential development where the principles of good design and layout will be employed. Lands will be zoned in a sequential manner for residential development around the town of Oranmore as appropriate to accommodate the projected growth and demand. Residential development will also be identified through brownfield and infill sites in an around this metropolitan settlement in accordance with the aspirations of the NPF and RSES. Analysis of the town centre in Oranmore depicts a well develop core with limited residential development potential. The land use zoning map in section 3 of this plan depicts these zonings. Mixed use developments in appropriate locations, particularly in town centre locations will be promoted subject to proper planning and sustainable development.
2.13.2 Town Centre/Retail
The main original retail core (Main Street & Old Dublin Road) has evolved over the years from the central spine of Main Street R338 in an easterly northerly and southerly direction. Also, to the west, however this is limited by the coast. The topography of the town centre is flat and pleasant with footpaths and lighting throughout. Views of Oranmore Bay can be viewed from certain points in the town.
Main Street is characterised by a linear pattern of development running in a north – south direction. The river running east west emptying into the sea forms the northern boundary of the main town centre zoning. This northern section of the street consists of a range of buildings of various types and sizes. This part of Main Street is characterised by two storey residential properties which become commercial on the approach to the town centre.
A large portion of town centre land has developed to the west of Main Street which would have previously been agricultural fields. It now contains two supermarkets and other commercial units. There is good pedestrian connectivity to this development including a pedestrian walkway from the junction between Main Street and Old Dublin Road. A smaller scale development has taken place to the east of Main Street which is a comprehensive and large scale mixed use scheme comprising commercial units and apartments.
A third addition to the town is located east of Main Street and north of the Old Dublin Road at the T junction. It is also a mixed use development comprising a variety of uses and services including financial services and retail shops.
Overall, the town has a good range of shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. There is an existing hotel in the town centre with other hotels towards the edge of the town. The level of vacancy in this Metropolitan Town appears to be toward the lower end of the scale compared to other locations in the county. The retail offering in Oranmore has expanded considerably over the last number of years and it now is the dominant use on additional streets that did not previously have any commercial activity such as the north side of Castle Road and at Oran Town Centre for example. In the case of Oran Town Centre this is a Mixed Use/Commercial development on the northern end of the town.
Over the lifetime of the Plan the Council will encourage the additional appropriate town centre uses in Oranmore that is commensurate to its level on the county retail hierarchy and accords with proper planning and sustainable development. The reuse of vacant and derelict buildings in the town centre will be encouraged where appropriate.
2.13.3 Employment and Economic Development
The presence of four supermarket chains in the town of Oranmore make a significant contribution to towns employment base. Other employment opportunities in the town centre area include leisure, hospitality and the professional services sectors. There is a strong emphasis in the Plan to encourage and facilitate the expansion of employment related activity and this is further supported in Chapter 5 Enterprise, Economic and Retail.
The provision of employment will be concentrated across the Town Centre, Mixed Use/Commercial, Business and Technology, Business and Enterprise and Industrial zonings. The locational advantages of Oranmore and the range of facilities it offers including its
- Evidence of an existing strong employment base in industrial activities such as processing;
- Close proximity to the motorway network;
- Good connectivity to the regional airports of Shannon and Knock;
- Pool of young skilled labour force in the towns residential areas and the third level institutions;
- Good connectivity to Galway City.
- High Amenity Value
These attributes equip Oranmore with the necessary ingredients to grow a strong and dynamic employment base. The town has the potential to attract other such industries and potential employers as it has a range of strategic advantages in this regard including:
2.13.4 Business and Technology
A large parcel of land towards the north-eastern side of Oranmore Town has been zoned for Business and Technology uses. These uses relate to the science and technology-based industry in life sciences, biopharma, IT, internationally traded services and Research and Development. Other uses may also be appropriate.
Oranmore’s Business and Technology site is located within the Strategic Economic Corridor (SEC) as discussed in Chapter 5 and it has an area of 21 hectares. It is within the ownership of the IDA. Planning permission was previously granted on the northern portion of land for the development of a Science and Technology Park with an advance manufacturing facility to accommodate a biopharmaceutical manufacturing and research. This permission has since expired, however, the proposed uses outlined in the planning application would be the type of uses that would be permitted here on this Business and Technology zoned site. The development of this site would see it becoming a large employment generator in this metropolitan town.
2.13.5 Business and Enterprise
To the south of the Business and Technology site a more modest portion of land has been zoned for Business and Enterprise use. This zoning facilitates the development of offices, light industrial uses including some warehousing and the development of enterprise park type uses. The locational advantages are also of benefit to this zoning along with the established Business and Enterprise employers that are already based in Oranmore.
Oranmore has a significant number of employers located in its industrial zoned lands to the north of the town centre adjacent to the business and technology zoned lands. Oranmore has therefore become a key location in the metropolitan area to drive and contribute to Galway’s economic success. The industrial zoned lands are more suitable for manufacturing and processing of goods which includes the handling of raw materials. Each employment area within the town - Business and Technology; Business and Enterprise; Industrial, Town Centre/Retail and Commercial/Mixed Use have their own range of suitable uses that contribute to the towns overall employment profile.
CHEMORAN in Oranmore manufactures emulsifiers, adhesive agents and micro surfacing agents in three reactors in their facility in Oranmore. The Chemoran site has been identified as a Lower Tier Seveso II site to which the European Communities (Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2006 applies. In this regard, a zone of 800 metres has been delineated around this site, as indicated on the Map 1A/1B - Land Use Zoning and Map 2A/2B - Specific Objectives. Development proposals in this area shall be referred to the Health and Safety Authority for consultation.
2.13.8 Community Facilities
There are a range of community facilities located in and around the town of Oranmore. As well as the education facilities outlined below, a range of active sports facilities are also available. Other community facilities in the town include a range of childcare facilities of varying sizes and scales along with church and graveyard, library, medical facilities, Garda Station, Credit Union, bank, butcher and hairdressers. The library building in Oranmore is an old Catholic church building which represents a good re-use of an existing building.
Renville Park is located to the south of Oranmore and provides a valued passive open space where visitors can utilise the network of walking trails available.
The plan will endeavour to ensure continued delivery of community services and infrastructure as the town develops and new communities emerge during the plan period. The plan will support the delivery of community facilities through various means which includes funding sources such as community grant supports.
The town has a strong education base with three primary schools Scoil Mhuire, Scoil Iósaif Naofa and Gaelscoil d hÍde and one secondary school Calasanctius College.
The plan will support the continued development of education facilities in the town of Oranmore in accordance with proper planning and sustainable development.
2.13.10 Environment and Heritage
Oranmore has a number of designated sites within the plan area which include SPAs and SACs. Oranmore also has a number of proposed natural heritage areas forming part of the Galway Bay Complex and Creganna Marsh.
It is recognised that the built heritage contributes to the character and vitality of Oranmore. The Architectural Conservation in place in Oranmore remains in effect along with the Protected Structures within the town. Landmark buildings, such as the former Catholic Church in the core of the town continue to contribute to the streetscape of the town. The street pattern, plot sizes and architectural coherence span the late 18th century to late 19th centuries and share many characteristics. The form and character which Oranmore has developed reflects its history. The core of the town demonstrates a strong sense of enclosure, created by a loosely knit arrangement of plots and buildings. This is created by terraces, pairs and detached houses, with occasional gaps, providing glimpses to outbuildings to the rear. The typical plot widths are narrow, with buildings fronting directly onto the footpath in the core of the town, and large rear gardens. The majority of the older buildings are of two storeys, with some examples of thatched or formerly thatched single storey cottages. The Architectural Conservation Area is derived from the perceived age, quality and continuity of buildings and sites within the historic core area and is set out in the settlement plan.
Oranmore also has a rich archaeological heritage, with a number of recorded monuments, providing evidence of early settlement in the area.
2.14 Services and Infrastructure
2.14.1 Wastewater Disposal
Oranmore and this part of Metropolitan County Galway would benefit greatly from the development of the East Galway Main Drainage wastewater treatment facility. It would potentially serve Oranmore town and surrounding areas and therefore is supported in this plan. Currently Oranmore is served by the existing Mutton Island Wastewater treatment plant. Several residential premises and other developments on the periphery of Oranmore town are served by individual septic tanks or proprietary wastewater treatment systems.
2.14.2 Water Services
Oranmore receives its water supply from the Tuam Regional Water Supply Scheme, and in this regard water supply is not a limiting factor for development.
2.14.3 Transportation Infrastructure and Movement
The town has immediate access to all major road networks providing access to Galway City. The M6/M17/M18 motorways are also easily accessible from Oranmore providing good road connections to Shannon, Limerick and Dublin. Oranmore train station also provides those living in the town of with the option of rail travel with a daily commuter service into Galway city, connections from this station are provided for Dublin and Limerick. It is anticipated that improved rail capacity would deliver increased frequency of train services at peak times. It is considered that this sustainable transport service will provide those living in Oranmore and surrounding areas with the option of a reliable public transport connection to Galway City which reduces their reliance on the private car. Furthermore, the development envisaged in the Urban Framework Plan for Garraun will enhance the connectivity of the train station to the town of Oranmore.
2.15 Climate Change and Flooding
As outlined in Chapter 14 Climate Change, Energy and Renewable Resource, climate change continues to have a direct effect on people’s lives, 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 Oranmore 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 Oranmore (Oranmore Metropolitan Settlement Plan – OMSP)
OMSP 1 Sustainable Residential Development
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 Oranmore Metropolitan settlement plan
OMSP 2 Sustainable Town Centre
Promote the development of Oranmore, 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.
OMSP 3 Business and Enterprise
(a) To facilitate the expansion of business and enterprise uses in the plan area of Oranmore where appropriate and in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
(b) Protect and enhance the vitality and viability of the village centre by ensuring that it remains the primary retail, commercial and mixed use centre in Oranmore and prohibiting a proliferation of any individual use or other uses, which in the opinion of the Planning Authority does not contribute to the vitality and viability of the town.
OMSP 4 Business and Technology
Promote the development of high value business and technology uses to reinforce Oranmore’s role as a growth centre for large, innovative, companies in sectors including, science and technology based industry in life sciences, bio-pharma, IT, internationally traded services and Research and Development. This zoning shall also provide for office park developments, storage facilities and logistics that are ancillary to the primary uses outlined above. Appropriate training facilities, such as Third Level Outreach facilities, may also be considered.
OMSP 5 Industrial
Promote the expansion where appropriate of industrial and industrial related uses, including manufacturing, processing of materials, warehousing and distribution on suitable lands, with adequate services and facilities and a high level of access to the major road networks and public transport facilities. Adequate edge treatment and/or screening will be required to ensure high quality interfaces with public spaces and any adjoining residential areas or other sensitive land uses, as appropriate.
OMSP 6 Tourism Development
Encourage and assist the development of the sustainable tourism potential within Oranmore in a manner that respects the architectural, archaeological and cultural significance of the town and its environs.
OMSP 7 Seveso
Galway County Council shall consult with the Health and Safety Authority when assessing any proposed relevant developments in or in the vicinity of sites identified under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Directive (Seveso II Directive), in order to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and to limit their consequences to the environment and community.
OMSP 8 Community Facilities
To seek the provision of additional community facilities including childcare, healthcare, place of worship and community centre, as an integral part of proposals for new residential development and having regard to existing facilities in the area.
OMSP 9 Community Facilities at Oranhill
Ensure the provision of recreational and amenity facilities as an integral part of any development proposals for Oranhill.
OMSP 10 Recreational Facilities
Encourage and support the development of riverside walkways and cycleways throughout the plan area where feasible and ensure that such proposals are considered or incorporated into the development of adjacent lands, as appropriate. Impacts on natural heritage and designated conservation areas arising from recreational activities will be considered as part of any proposal.
OMSP 11 Open Space
Protect existing open spaces from inappropriate development, so as to maintain their attractiveness and role in enhancing the residential amenity and overall character of Oranmore and facilitate the development of open spaces and civic spaces at suitable locations within the Plan Area.
OMSP T 12 Educational Facilities
Support the provision of adequate educational facilities for the local community including primary, post primary, third level outreach programmes, R&D facilities, and including other training facilities, in order to meet the needs of the widest range of residents within Oranmore and its environs.
OMSP 13 Environment and Heritage
To protect and conserve the special character of all built heritage features both within the plan area as well as those within the immediate surrounding areas.
OMSP 14 Public Utilities
Support opportunities to upgrade the existing surface water and foul drainage systems to relieve potential constraints in the existing treatment network and to future proof the infrastructure required to support the full development of Oranmore.
OMSP 15 Non-Conforming Uses
Where existing uses do not conform with the land use zoning objectives or matrix of the plan, the Planning Authority shall facilitate/support their relocation to more sustainable and appropriately zoned lands.