- Strengthening the urban fabric of the area;
- Reinforcing local identity and sense of place;
- Providing a coherent and permeable urban structure;
- Promoting an efficient use of land;
- Improving and enhancing the public realm;
- Conserving and respecting local heritage; and
- Supporting active travel initiatives.
5. Urban Design and Regeneration
The Plan will seek to promote architecture and urban design which compliments and reinforces the existing built fabric of the Carlow - Graiguecullen Joint Urban Area.
Urban design involves examining all the elements that contribute to place – buildings, uses, streets, footpaths, open spaces- and ensuring that these elements blend harmoniously to create an attractive and distinctive end product. It is both a process and an outcome of creating high quality places that all people can fully engage with, and which are attractive and liveable.
Good urban design underpins what has been more recently termed as placemaking. Placemaking reinforces a people- centred approach to the creation of the built environment, which goes beyond just the physical fabric of a place. In the regard, the Councils have a key role through the planning process in shaping the built environment. Achieving a good quality-built environment and public realm is essential to support sustainable mobility, healthy communities, successful urban living and the achievement of compact growth.
The key principles underpinning good urban design in the area should focus on
Chapter 12 of the Carlow County Development Plan highlights the importance of urban design and placemaking, the planning authority will implement the principles outlined therein to achieve quality placemaking and good urban design which supports a key element of national, regional and local policy in relation to achieving compact growth.
Fig 2: Key Urban Design Principles for Quality Placemaking
Map 3: Opportunity Sites 2012-2018
The Carlow - Graiguecullen Joint Urban area is a key focus for urban regeneration. Under the provisions of the current Joint Spatial Plan there are a total of 24 no. opportunity sites throughout the Carlow - Graiguecullen Area. The sites are located throughout the urban area (see Map 3). These sites were identified in 2012 as of strategic importance for the future development of the Greater Carlow Graiguecullen Urban Area. A review of these opportunity sites and other potential sites will be conducted as part of the Local Area Plan with the objective of securing compact and sustainable growth.
Project Carlow 2040 A Vision of Regeneration is a recently published Regeneration Strategy which seeks to achieve a high quality connected urban environment with increased employment opportunities and a better quality of life for all.
The Strategy focuses development on the town centre and identifies opportunities in the built environment and the public realm which can be developed to the benefit of the community and the local economy.
A number of intervention areas identified will act as a catalyst for regeneration but will also contribute to improved health and wellbeing, create better town centre spaces, enhance competitiveness and commercial activity, promote town centre living and encourage building enhancements in order to improve long-term viability. The intervention areas comprise the:
- Town Centre - Potato Market and Barrack Street.
- Cultural Quarter (including links to the Railway Station).
- The Barrow Track / Civic Spine.
- The Pembroke District.
- The Burrin Riverfront.
- Link Streets (Dublin Street and Tullow Street).
Guiding principles to support a more vibrant and viable town include:
- Reduced Vacancy;
- Promote a high quality of life and wellbeing;
- A Town perceived as an exciting place to live, work and visit;
- A Distinctive Town;
- Increased Town Centre Footfall; and,
- Diversity of Uses in the Town Centre.
Urban Regeneration and Development (URDF) funding totalling €21.8m has been awarded for key projects identified in Project Carlow 2040 A Vision for Regeneration.
Separately, Laois County Council have identified opportunity areas in Graiguecullen, including the:
- Glanbia site, and,
- Fruithill Manor site.
Within the Graiguecullen area vacant and underutilised sites also need to be addressed through the following mechanisms;
- Appropriate development typologies and density;
- Connectivity with the Carlow town area;
- Public realm improvements; and
- Creation of new spaces.
Recent Projects and FundingCarlow County Council are currently at an advanced stage in the construction of a new semi-covered open space in the centre of the town at Potato Market called The Exchange. The new space will be suitable for a multiple of uses, including tourism events, micro festivals, farmer’s market, fairs and student and youth events.
Work on upgrading Hanover Park in Carlow Town has also recently been completed, including new pathways, seating areas, and lighting. Further plans for the park including accessible playground, a bike pump track and biodiversity measures, are now at planning stage.
Planning and implementation of further projects is progressing and will continue over the life of the Joint Urban Local Area Plan.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- What are the key design issues relating to the built environment in Carlow-Graiguecullen?
- What criteria should inform good quality living environments?
- What opportunity / regeneration sites if developed would contribute most to a more sustainable urban environment?
- What are the unique features of the urban environment that should inform future policy?