Level 4 Plans - Introduction

Closed27 Apr, 2022, 9:00am - 25 May, 2022, 5:00pm



Part 1.1            Introduction to Level 4 Plans - General Objectives

Section 1.1.3                Economic Development & Employment

Depending on their degree of accessibility, scale of population / workforce and market catchment, and the availability of support services, the Level 4 towns have varying roles to play in acting as attractors for foreign and local investment. Level 4 settlements are likely to perform a lesser function in terms of attracting foreign investment than Level 1-3 settlements; however historical foreign investment and local characteristics may support the ability of these towns to attract this scale and type of investment into the future.  Generally, towns of this scale are particularly suited to attracting local investment and should aim to target investment in the form of local services, ‘product intensive’ industries, particularly those linked to rural resources, such as food processing, agricultural services and tourist facilities / accommodation.

The factors that make a town economically viable and attractive to investors and visitors are numerous and often hard to predict and influence, but for the purpose of these land use plans, the strategy for economic development will be based around:

  1. providing a land-use framework for each town, which makes the Council’s requirements and expectations with respect to the location and type of new employment generating development abundantly clear;
  2. supporting and facilitating, to the highest degree possible (subject to environmental and other relevant planning considerations) all forms of employment generation and in particular, to encourage employment and commercial uses as a key activity in the town centre;
  3. a focus on ‘placemaking’ to create attractive and sustainable communities, with high quality services and public realm, to create attractive places to live, work, visit and invest.

An established measure of the employment ‘health’ of a settlement is a measure called the ‘jobs ratio’. This is the relationship between the resident workers and the number of jobs in any defined area. A healthy area is considered to be one where the jobs ratio exceeds 70%[1]. Baltinglass, Newtownmountkennedy and Rathdrum in 2016 all had jobs ratio in excess of 70%, all in or around 80%. This reflects the important role these towns play in the economic development and support of their hinterlands. It is important that this high level of employment is maintained into the future as resident population grows, and is developed further in an environmentally sustainable manner, with a particular focus on growing employment and businesses in the town centre and other already built up areas, densifying existing employment area, and targeting growth at locations that are the most sustainable in terms of accessibility. In this regard, it is the objective of the CDP to increase the jobs ratio in Level 4 towns by a minimum of 25% up to 2031.

This table also show the amount of land proposed to be zoned in each town for new employment. While it is assumed that a proportion of jobs growth will occur in the town centres and other mixed use lands that are not specifically zoned for employment alone, or will occur on existing developed employment land through intensification, sufficient zoned employment land is zoned in each town to meet all of the jobs growth required, on the assumption of 80 employees per hectare, plus an additional ‘headroom’ of 100% to ensure that there will be no shortage of site choice for developers of new employment.


Jobs ratio


Targeted future jobs ratio


Jobs growth targeted up to 2031

Quantum of zoned employment land (ha)




























Part 1.1            Introduction to Level 4 Plans - General Objectives

Section 1.1.10              Flood Risk Assessment

As part of each plan addressed in this appendix, a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) has been carried out. The assessment is presented as part of the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment appendix of the County Plan. All applications shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions of ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management’ Guidelines (DoEHLG 2009) and the flood management objectives of the County Development Plan.

Where existing development is located within Flood Zones A or B, new development shall be limited to minor development only; any proposals for new development should be accompanied by an appropriately detailed FRA, undertaken in accordance with Section 4 of the SFRA and the relevant policies and objectives in the County Development Plan.

Any proposals for new development in Flood Zones A or B shall be accompanied by an appropriately detailed FRA, undertaken in accordance with Section 4 of this SFRA and the relevant policies and objectives in the County Development Plan, and in particular, where the lands at risk of flooding form part of a larger development site, the sequential approach shall be applied in the site planning, to ensure no encroachment onto, or loss of the flood plain, or that only water compatible development such as Open Space will be permitted for the lands which are identified as being at risk of flooding within the site.



Part 1.2            Introduction to Level 4 Plans - Zoning & Land Use

Section 1.2.1                Zoning Objectives

Uses generally appropriate for employment (E) zoned land include general and light industry, office uses, enterprise units, appropriate warehousing, petrol filling stations (as deemed appropriate), public transport depots, open space including sports grounds, community facilities including community and sports centres, utility installations and ancillary developments for employment and industry uses in accordance with the CDP.


[1] As per RSES Appendix A - data and indicators

[2] To be reviewed in the next LAP to be commensurate with the employment growth objective



As part of the county and town development plan, housing demands will obviously be a significant issue. Your own figures and projections no doubt will highlight a need for additional housing and...