Waterford County Council adopted the Integrated Rural Tourism and Recreational Complexes Policy as a variation of the 2005-2011 County Development Plan. (Can be downloaded from their website)
Well there would appear to be a plethora of planning applications coming on stream with the Garrarus Golf Course development just the thin edge of the wedge. Will the Copper Coast be next? Where will it all stop?
An IRTRC can be defined as a high quality tourism development located in a rural location which includes: a quality hotel (minimum 50 beds); a leisure centre/spa, conference centre; other facilities such as an 18 hole golf club or Adventure centre, marina or indoor recreation centre.
Developments have to comply to certain criteria listed in the Policy document which can be found on the County Council website. These include complying with the Scenic Landscape Evaluation and coastal development and landscape policies; it should not have an adverse impact on sites of nature conservation and so on.
The development should be sustainable and existing site features, including trees and hedgerows should be retained as far as possible to form a comprehensive landscaping scheme. There is supposed to be a presumption against holiday homes/second homes in areas outside of setttlements in Visually Vulnerable and Sensitive areas and along Scenic routes in the Scenic Evaluation map.
Any residential tourism development must demostrate that it does not place unsustainable demands upon the existing or planned infrastructure capacity of the area and does not conflict with the maintenance of the natural and cultural heritage of the area. Ground water quality must not be affected.
This is just a sample of the points listed in the policy. It is to be hoped that the peoples voices are heard by the Council and that only appropriate developments take place. For information about the ongoing Garrarus campaign, check out their website