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Lisdoonvarna scp May 2017

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This version of Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan is dated May 2017. Keep an eye out for later versions as it is a live document subject to change as with everything in life.

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Lisdoonvarna scp May 2017

  1. 1. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030
  2. 2. Contents Context • Lisdoonvarna • Understanding Lisdoonvarna • Purpose of the Plan • Policy Context • Consultation Strategy • Developing Draft Strategies • Strategies for Sustainable Communities • Community • Economy • Place and Environment • Strategy Delivery • Implementation • Funding Opportunities • Monitoring progress Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !3 43
  3. 3. Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs This plan has been developed by Lisdoonvarna Tidy Towns. It evolved during a Sustainable Community Course while exploring Sustainable Community Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It continues to evolve with greater public engagement. It is a live document and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. To become involved please contact Lisdoonvarna Tidy Towns
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !4 43
  4. 4. Lisdoonvarna Lisdoonvarna Spa Town is situated in the heart of the Burren, almost mid-way between Ennistymon and Ballyvaughan on the main N67 route. Lisdoonvarna was established as a tourist centre almost entirely because of the spa in the town. Although the curative properties of the Spa Wells of Lisdoonvarna were well known throughout Ireland for centuries, it was not until 1751, when the water was scientifically analysed, that the place became popular as a visitor attraction. However, even as late as 1840, no town existed which is evident from the 1st Ordnance Survey Map, surveyed in 1839. The present town is the product of a tourism ‘boom’ during the late 19th century, when most of the present guest houses and hotels were built to accommodate the huge increase in visitor numbers. The beneficial effects of its water were first noted by writers as early as 1740. Lisdoonvarna was established as a tourist centre almost entirely because of its spa. It was the centre around which the town developed. There was no earlier village, just a few scattered cottages. However, the numerous ancient sites and historic remains in the vicinity are evidence of human habitation and activity in the area many centuries before the establishment of the town itself. Ring forts in the vicinity can date from the Iron Age into the Christian era and up to late medieval times. In 1896 James O' Donoghue found the Lisdoonvarna Bronze Pot at Aughiska Beg about five hundred yards from the sulphur well. 
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !5 43
  5. 5. The Twin Wells are located in a picturesque setting on the banks of the River Aille. They are a source of sulphur and iron water which, very unusually, springs from the one rock. The town park situated on the southern edge of Lisdoonvarna is an important part of the town in a historical and contemporary context. The two rivers flanking it provide a very special setting for people and for wildlife. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !6 43
  6. 6. Lisdoonvarna town centre is designated as an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). It has a distinctive character with a pleasant, well laid-out central market square area. There are a number of fine unused buildings in the town which present opportunity for appropriate renovation. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !7 43
  7. 7. The present town is comparatively new by Irish standards, dating mainly from the start of the nineteenth century due to a tourism boom. The town comprises, for the most part, well-designed and render-decorated Victorian buildings and an attractive and well laid out central market square. View from the Ballyvaughan Road towards the Town Square.
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !8 43
  8. 8. The Spa Wells complex to the south of the town has an attractive pump house and bathhouse built in the early 20th century. The town, for the most part, has retained its unique 19th century appearance and comprises of well- designed and render- decorated Victorian buildings. It is important that this special character is maintained by repairing existing buildings using sympathetic, natural materials and reflecting existing heights, scale and materials in new build infill sites. Lisdoonvarna which had a population of 739 people in 2011, takes its name from "LIOS DUIN BHEARNA" the lios or enclosure of the fort in the gap. It is thought to refer to the green earthen fort of LISSATEEAUN (fort of the fairy hill), which lies 1 miles to the North-East, near the old castle site. Lisdoonvarna has excellent links to the surrounding countryside including the Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren National park and the World famous Cliffs of Moher. It is the only spa town in Ireland. View from the Kilfenora Road towards the Town Square.
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !9 43
  9. 9. Understanding Lisdoonvarna Lisdoonvarna is unique within Irish communities as the people of the town own the Spa Wells and surrounding properties and land including the park. Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd is a community organisation, considered to be the oldest on the island of Ireland and within its remit of facilities the largest in Ireland, that manages this portfolio on behalf of the community. Matchmaking became one of the main activities of Lisdoonvarnas holiday-makers. September was, and still is, the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of wives. Matchmakers prospered as matches were contrived and marriages made. The Spa Well also continues to attract the crowds. The town has continued in its established role as a tourist centre with a range of hotel, guesthouse and bed and breakfast accommodation. In 2015, Lisdoonvarna also became the winner of the Foodie Town Competition as it offers a lot of high-quality restaurants and gastro pubs. The quantity and quality of the accommodation coupled with the surrounding countryside including its proximity to the Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren National park and the World famous Cliffs of Moher makes Lisdoonvarna an ideal location to stay while exploring North Clare and the Burren. The town park - hosting the Twin Wells and major community features like the pavilion and GAA pitches - is an important part of Lisdoonvarna. The park is flanked by two rivers in ravines, one of which is the Aille River which is joined by the Gowlaun River at the main Spa Wells, upstream from the town park. The community of Lisdoonvarna has an extensive and active network of community groups and organisations, with a great range of community infrastructure. The town has benefited from recently developed community, sports and recreational facilities. Environmental improvements around the square area have added an attractive focus to the Main Street. The Spa Complex remains the residents treasure and its full restoration remains a very strongly supported goal. There was a feasibility studied completed in 2016 which sets out in much greater detail the incredible opportunities that lie with their restoration. The community must be congratulated for their vision and commitment to its fruition. 
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !10 43
  10. 10. Purpose of the Plan The aim of the plan is to bring Lisdoonvarna to a more resilient and attractive place to live, work and visit. This can be done by building on the positive aspects of the town such as its dedicated community, natural setting, its links to the wider landscape and environs, its natural and built heritage with its diversity and mix of uses. Building resilience in the presence of evolving challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, diminishing natural resources and economic crisis helps a town bounce back when external circumstances impact. The main objectives of the Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Communities Plan are: • To establish a “shared vision” for the sustainable future of Lisdoonvarna; • To set out practical guidance on the management and enhancement of the Public Realm • To respect and protect the biodiversity in Lisdoonvarna; • To identify practical measures to maximise quality of life for residents including transport and recreation; • To enhance the town’s varied economic potential taking proximity to the Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren and the Spa Town status of Lisdoonvarna into account; • To set out practical steps that can be taken to build resilience to external shocks; • To provide guidelines and support for the development of similar plans in other areas. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !11 43
  11. 11. Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and into the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, offer equality of opportunity and good services for all. Sustainable communities are vibrant, with thriving local economies, a strong sense of place and respect for their built and natural environment. They are: • Active, inclusive and safe - fair, tolerant and cohesive with a strong local culture and other shared community activities; • Healthy and safe • Well run - with effective and inclusive participation, representation and leadership; • Environmentally sensitive - providing places for people to live that are considerate of the environment; • Well designed and built - featuring a quality built and natural environment; • Well connected - with good transport services and communication linking people to jobs, schools, health and other services; • Thriving - with a nourishing and diverse local economy; • Well served - with public, private, community and voluntary services that are appropriate to people’s needs and accessible to all; • Fair for everyone, including those in other communities now and into the future Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !12 43
  12. 12. To become more sustainable, Lisdoonvarna must become healthier, more attractive and economically viable, while simultaneously reducing its effect on the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions The priorities for sustainable places are: • Water – to manage surface water, flood risk and encourage more sustainable use of water; • Waste – to plan for sustainable waste management; • Transport – to encourage public transport walking and cycling and reduce car use; • Public space - to maximise the potential of public space; • Protect Culture - preservation of historical sites and traditions; • Employment - the Spa Wells will provide employment once restored; • Energy – to reduce energy demand and develop a renewable energy portfolio; • Food - to produce adequate supply for the local market and beyond. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !13 43
  13. 13. Policy Context This plan is evolving within the framework of relevant local, regional, national, European and international planning. • The overarching guidance will be the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as we think globally while acting locally. • This ties in with European planning for sustainable communities such as the Habitats and Water Framework directives as well as the Climate and Energy Framework within the Energy Union. • The national context brings in more specific guidance with the • National Planning Framework • Putting People First • CEDRA Report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas • National Mitigation Plans when drafted • Realising our Rural Potential • Irelands Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future. • Our Communities: A Framework Policy for Local and Community Development in Ireland • The Midwest Area Strategic Plan 2012-2030, Mid West Region Action Plan for Jobs • Locally the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023 will have a significant bearing upon realising potential actions as will the LECP Local Economic and Community Plan. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !14 43
  14. 14. Consultation Lisdoonvarna Tidy Towns hosted a series of Sustainable Community workshops. These were well attended with most attendees representing stakeholders within the community including business and community groups. Over the course of these workshops an outline sustainable community plan was formulated. This was then presented to the wider community with a view to collaboration to develop an action plan. Further to the workshops and public meeting interviews were carried out. These served to further explore the dynamics of Lisdoonvarna, the challenges the community face with some further actions being proposed. This document is the result of that work. It is a live document and it is open to review on an ongoing basis. While the timeline indicates a 2030 timeframe it is envisaged that the date will change with the towns plans. Key to any sustainable community plan is communications, active citizenship and public participation. There are plans within this strategy that will help with engagement thus ensuring a sustainable Lisdoonvarna.
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !15 43 Have you plans for Lisdoonvarna? Any ideas for creating a sustainable, thriving local economy to support a community where it’s a pleasure to work, rest and play? Over the past 6 weeks at a sustainable community development course people of Lisdoonvarna came up with some proposals to get that ball rolling. We now invite you to come along, hear what we’re thinking and add your voice. When: 7pm on Monday March 6th Where: The Pavillion Who: Everybody in Lisdoonvarna Our Guest Speaker will share a bit about Lisdoonvrnas natural environment - our biodiversity This will be immediately followed by a workshop where we can all discuss how we can work with nature and our environment in Lisdoonvarna to support our economy and community. It’s free and everyone is welcome. This workshop is supported by Clare County Council under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund 2016 Your Town Your ChoiceYour Plan Your Town Your Voice
  15. 15. Central to the Sustainable Community Plan is Participation All other actions feed into or stem from that participation. Workshops + Presentations + Conversations + Invitations + Interviews + Survey = Shared Vision Public Participation shapes the Shared Vision which is continuously under review. From that Shared Vision Strategies continue to be formulated which identify Actions. The Vision, Strategy and Actions will be evaluated by Participants on an ongoing basis and edited when appropriate. The Plan remains a live document. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !16 43
  16. 16. Developing draft strategies The issues and opportunities raised by participants in the Workshops, community conversations and interviews were collated by the project team. They helped to develop its recommendations for strategies and key projects. Strategies include projects and actions with non-spatial implications, such as marketing and branding, alongside specific improvements to the public realm and related initiatives with implications both for the public realm, heritage buildings, tourism and economic viability etc. Review of draft strategies and projects This will be repeated on an ongoing basis. Regular surveys will be carried out. Further advertisements will be placed in the local press inviting attendance at public conversations around the planned strategies and proposals. Presentation boards will be placed on display in the Lisdoonvarna library and on Lisdoonvarna Tidy Towns and Lisdoonvarna Failte websites. Members of the public are openly invited to make submissions to the plan whenever they wish. Clare PPN Public Participation Network will also be approached to assist in communicating with groups in the area who may have an interest. Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. For Development to be Sustainable there must be harmony between Society, the Economy and the Environment. The Economy is a methodology used by Society to trade, which can be defined as the act of buying and selling goods and services. All goods originate in the Environment. Without a healthy environment there would be no society or economy. For this purpose the plan will focus on the three pillars of sustainable development - Community, Economy and Environment. There follows some essentials for sustainable communities along with evaluation of their context within Lisdoonvarna based on feedback from participants to date. This will be followed by some detailed feedback and pillar context for Lisdoonvarna. 
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !17 43
  17. 17. Community Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !18 43 A vibrant local community that is: Inclusive and fair Healthy Aware and involved Has a strong identity Tolerant and cohesive Accessible to all A range of public, private, community and voluntary services that are appropriate to people’s needs Effective participation representation and inclusive leadership A strong sense of identity and civic pride Accessible to all Opportunities for sports and leisure, walking and cycling Fair to everyone, including those in other communities Safe, with low levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, community friendly policing Considerate of future generations
  18. 18. Lisdoonvarna identified itself as inclusive and fair. The sustainability dilemma of meeting our needs today without compromising the needs of future generations is a global dilemma and one reason that this action plan is being developed. There is a wide array of public, private, community and voluntary organisations in Lisdoonvarna. However as people’s needs do change it is always good practice to do a needs assessment routinely. It has already been shown that there is a need for more diversity of sporting opportunities in the town. There are no designated cycle pathways and only 2 walks mapped - both in the park. There is a community alert scheme and crime is very low in the area. There is great leadership and participation in Lisdoonvarna. There are many volunteers and mentors engaged in community and sports groups. There is also a massive task involved in the care of the commons and given the amount of land and amenities in community ownership it is obvious that Lisdoonvarna Failte Ltd is punching way above it’s weight. This puts volunteers at risk of burnout and onerous responsibility. It also leaves them open to challenge on decisions they are compelled to make which they may not have sufficient consultation time. Most groups in Lisdoonvarna are members of Clare PPN. Since the merger of the North and West Clare Municipal Districts it is felt locally that there has been a disconnect with North Clare. There are no local elected councillors and given it’s location so far from the central county council offices more effort has to be made to participate and be heard in the formulation of plans for the region. The absence of a local councillor means there is nobody at the table representing the Lisdoonvarna area. This is an issue that could be raised with the PPN. There is a very strong sense of identity and civic pride. Lisdoonvarna is steeped in heritage and it is hard to miss how everyone in the vicinity speaks confidently and positively about the town and it’s environs. They acknowledge it’s uniqueness as well as its potential. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !19 43
  19. 19. Economy Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !20 43 A thriving local economy that is: Vital Diverse Integrated Well branded A flourishing and diverse local economy A close grain of compatible land uses Good services and communications Marketing An economically viable town centre Variety and choice Strong links to the rural hinterland, the region and the national economy Local job opportunities Appropriate and adaptive re- use of buildings
  20. 20. The economy of Lisdoonvarna is based on tourism. The hospitality sector closes down for the months of October through to March. There is employment in the schools, shops, pubs and creche. There is a CE scheme operating on a year round basis which sees positions filled keeping the town clean and tidy. Given the amount of services required by the hospitality sector there is scope for a lot more employment in the town. The town square is very well kept but seems very under-utilised. More could definitely be done to incorporate this central space in festivities and community actions. Dereliction is an issue. Some businesses have closed and been left to fall into disrepair. Many of the businesses are members of the Burren Ecotourism Network. There is no branding specifically for the town or the hinterlands. Broadband is available in the area. There is no communications strategy or central portal for all community notices. This would be of great benefit to the locals as well as tourists and prospective businesses. 
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !21 43
  21. 21. Environment Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !22 43 A strong sense of place and respect for the environment: Characterful Attractive Environmentally sensitive Well connected A strong sense of place, local identity and character Featuring a high quality built and natural environment Considerate to the environment Good public transport connections, linking people to jobs, schools and health services Activated and well used public realm Minimise climate change Well managed traffic with an appropriate level of parking Appropriateness of size, scale, density, design and layout that complements local character Make efficient use of resources Green infrastructure A tidy and clean public realm Enhance biodiversity Well maintained building fabric, respectful of the town’s heritage and character Locally sourced food
  22. 22. There is a strong sense of civic pride in Lisdoonvarna. The community is very supportive of tourism and visitors to the area. The whole town is consumed for the month of September while the matchmaking festival is on yet the locals take it all in their stride. There is a lot of the town in community management which probably dilutes the volunteer time generally afforded to a town of this size. A lot of investment is required to renovate the Spa Wells and adjacent buildings which is the responsibility of volunteers. Likewise the park could be developed subject to volunteer and financial resources. The town is well serviced by provincial buses between Galway and Ennis however there is no bus shelter which leaves locals and visitors exposed to the elements in a pretty open area. This would not encourage anyone to take public transport. Climate change is acknowledged as a pressing issue in Lisdoonvarna. While some people engaged in this planning process for economic and social reasons others definitely took part to address environmental sustainability including climate change. Despite a booming tourism industry there are only a few food suppliers in the area. These tend to be niche, speciality foods such as cheese and smoked salmon while others bake and make preserves. There is scope for organic farming to provide the vegetables and pulses required for the hotels, restaurants and guest houses. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !23 43
  23. 23. Sustainability The participants expressed a wide variety of ideas about what it means to be a sustainable community. They illustrate a substantial degree of support for a local agenda in order to support and progress the tourism economy of the area. Particular emphasis was on the need for local businesses, local food production, local employment and living opportunities, local energy production and the quality of the local environment. There is a recognition that these sorts of initiatives should be locally driven with the support of Clare County Council and Fáilte Ireland. Identifying positive and negative aspects A diverse range of issues and opportunities have been raised. In broad terms the strength of the local community and its constituent organisations was highlighted, together with an acknowledgement of the importance and high quality of certain local amenities, heritage assets, and the surrounding landscape, balanced with the desire for all of these aspects to be consolidated and enhanced. Lisdoonvarnas status as the only world-famous spa town in Ireland, its proximity to the surrounding countryside including the Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren National park and the World famous Cliffs of Moher was identified as a major positive. A number of the local businesses are members of the Burren Eco Tourism Network. There is a Burren Code of Practice Concerns also varied, including communications within the town, the lack of a shared vision, information deficit of our natural amenities, vacancy, lack of broadband, lack of walking and cycling opportunities, lack of local employment opportunities, maintenance of footpaths and lighting, lack of sporting facilities, parking issues, invasive species such as Japanese knotweed, lack of tourist activities, overgrown river walks, habitat loss, lack of bus shelters and the works required on the town square. Lisdoonvarnas position within the Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher was identified as lacking in marketing. Several of the town’s key buildings that are owned and operated by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd, such as the Spa wells, are not sufficiently accessible to all. There are other access issues in relation to parts of the public realm. Acknowledging the challenge of restoring older buildings and making them accessible without irrevocably damaging their architectural and Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !24 43
  24. 24. heritage character, it is recommended that an accessibility audit should be carried out, with a view to incorporating its recommendations in longer-term public realm improvements.. The latest County Development Plan in mentioning the Town Square states: “The site and its immediate environs would benefit from a master plan to explore options including defining the square, visual connection to green amenity and pedestrian linkages. The Square needs suitable physical definition on its southern side, the site of the former Glenview Hotel.” Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !25 43
  25. 25. Natural Environment Biodiversity was covered at 3 workshops and identified as integral to a sustainable Lisdoonvarna. Not only is it essential to sustain our environment but protecting it and enhancing it is key to the tourism industry and Irelands green image. Water is the foundation of Lisdoonvarna so it is little wonder that it is considered as having significant development potential. Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd previously sought to investigate how, with its fantastic array of landscapes and natural resources, it can capitalise on its incredible wealth of outdoor recreation activities to the benefit of its citizens, the local, regional and national economy; and how this could be done sustainably, by getting the balance right and cherishing the resource which underpins the potential for North Clare. The National Trails Office discusses the value of recreational trails, which are an important facilitator of outdoor recreation. Research conducted by the Irish Sports Council and Coillte estimated the direct economic expenditure by Irish trail users on accommodation, food, drink and trail equipment, etc. to be worth millions of euro annually; and the value of the public good at €95 million. Fáilte Ireland estimated that over 800,000 overseas tourist engaged in walking on recreational trails in 2010 while on holiday, though this dropped to 578,000 in 2012. Methods of optimising the use of existing outdoor recreation attractions and amenities must be explored to further enhance and promote them. The popularity of outdoor activities has increased in recent years, particularly in the area of adventure sports. Through this Study, there is an opportunity to create a unique brand selling the West as Ireland’s ‘Outdoor Recreation Destination’ for domestic and overseas visitors. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !26 43
  26. 26. In 2006 a National Countryside Recreation Strategy was prepared by Comhairle na Tuaithe under the auspices of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The Strategy seeks to achieve sustainable and responsible recreation in the countryside, promote caring recreational use, develop a national framework that promotes the rights and responsibilities of both owners and users, develop a suitable structure to deliver a national countryside recreation service in a strategic and coordinated manner and secure a package of funding mechanisms to deliver on the objectives of the strategy. Eight principles were identified and are also promoted by the Regional Assembly. They are: 1. Recognition of the value of countryside recreation in terms of improving quality of life, and delivering economic, social and health benefits. 2. Protection of the natural, cultural and built heritage of our countryside and of the natural environment, including wildlife habitats. 3. Full cognisance of the legal rights and concerns of landowners, who are predominantly the farming community and state agencies. 4. Acceptance of the need of recreational users to have reasonable access to the countryside and uplands. 5. Provision of education and awareness programmes to promote the responsible use of the countryside for recreational purposes. 6. Encouragement of farmers and other landowners to provide for outdoor recreation and to develop rural enterprises based on outdoor recreation, thereby providing them with the opportunity to benefit financially. 7. Development and maintenance of infrastructure both general and specific to the activities themselves, to provide for countryside recreation. 8. Centrality of quality to the provision of outdoor recreation, whereby outdoor recreational areas and related facilities are planned, designed and managed according to best international practices, including those relating to ‘access for all’ principles.
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !27 43
  27. 27. Strategy Some specific actions identified requiring little or no funding: • Sign up as Sustainable Energy Community with SEAI • Communications strategy • Street Feast • Heritage week events • Pursue public realm improvements including bus stop, manholes etc • Draft community orchard plans • Biodiversity and conservation sign posts • Social media activity and connectivity • Newsletter • Meet with planning department at Clare County Council Some specific actions identified requiring moderate grant funding: • Carry out a biodiversity audit of the town and a biodiversity plan to protect and enhance the natural environment of Lisdoonvarna including: • Bee friendly gardening • Natural weed killer - a hoe • Identify recreational trails for the local and National Trails Office • Create a community orchard / garden • Devise a water management plan for Lisdoonvarna in conjunction with LAWCO - Local Authority Water and Communities Office: Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !28 43
  28. 28. • Identify river walks • Flood risk mitigation, adaptation and communications plan • River regeneration plan Infrastructure Projects Identified requiring capital investment: • Pursue Redevelopment of the Spa Wells • Upgrades to the Pavilion Theatre • Sports Ground • The Town Square
 Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !29 43
  29. 29. Community Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !30 43 Key projects - Community Rank Note Town wide communications Strategy High Communications strategy to be devised coordinated by Tidy Towns, Lisdoonvarna Failte and Community Alert Broaden awareness and involvement in community affairs and participation High Collaborate with Clare PPN registered groups to agree a public participation strategy Promote further education and awareness of sustainability issues Med Potential expansion of Sustainable Community programme into local secondary school Become SEAI Sustainable Energy Community High This will require collaboration Increase communication - decrease isolation Med Buddy benches, coffee mornings Intergenerational collaborative projects Med Safeguard heritage and skills Create community spaces within the park Med Identify places where community engagement and Meitheail Med Identify projects to encourage volunteerism within the town
  30. 30. Economy Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !31 43 Key projects - Economy Rank Note Commission marketing/ branding strategy. High Specialist consultants and Failte Ireland input required. Could Lisdoonvarna be the low carbon eco tourism accommodation hub to explore North Clare & The Burren? Seek new uses for existing vacant town centre premises. High Investigate feasibility and funding of locally sourced artisan food production in town centre. Broaden community based events calendar e.g. Street Feast, Heritage Week High Potential for temporary pedestrianisation in part of the square. Get the Spa Wells up and running sustainably High See feasibility study Align the town with high quality locally sourced artisan food produce. Med Seek to incentivise through CLDC and Local Enterprise Office support. Economic Activity Imports audit. Med Monitor the needs of local businesses with a view to replacing the need to import with local sources. Undertake town centre ‘Health Check’ study/ assessment of retail need and leakage. Med Note Heritage Council methodology, potential for support. Provide tourist information resource. Med Potential for automated facility in Failte shopfront and use of town wide communications platforms. Seek adequate signage for tourist attractions. Low Carbon Eco Tourism destination High Join Sustainable Energy Community Programme.
  31. 31. Place and Environment Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !32 43 Key projects - Place and Environment Rank Note Biodiversity Audit and Conservation Plan High Baseline evaluation of the natural environment with a plan on how to protect and enhance it. Carry out public realm improvements at locations identified during Tidy Towns audit High List sent to Clare County Council and is available from Tidy Towns. Review possible location to install a pedestrian crossing. Med Focus on market square near bus stops. Encourage voluntary maintenance and visual improvements. Med Communications and information Issue notices under s59 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 Med In respect of any protected structures identified as being endangered due to neglect. Investigate potential for coordinated streetscape colour scheme Med Done for Tivili Terrace. Explore other areas. Pavillion Park assessment and plan Low Potential to incorporate a community garden. Undertake town energy audit Low Join Sustainable Energy Community Programme. Explore the Eco Tourism label Low How can our community live by good eco standards? Undertake an accessibility audit High Local authority obligations under Disability Discrimination Act Undertake civic infrastructure audit High Particular emphasis on future needs including sports and recreation facilities
  32. 32. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !33 43 Key projects - Place and Environment Rank Note Identify walking and cycling routes and proposed additional connections High Potential for Failte Ireland support for looped walks Identify and reserve land for expansion of existing sports facilities Med Incude in Civic Infrastructure audit. There is a significant land adjacent to the existing sports park with room for expansion Town Square Master Plan as per the CDP Med Town Square and its immediate environs would benefit from a master plan to explore options including defining the square, visual connection to green amenity and pedestrian linkages. The Square needs suitable physical definition on its southern side, the site of the former Glenview Hotel Landscape and Planting Plan High Explore the landscape of Lisdoonvarna and design where necessary. Japanese Knotweed task force Identify protected structures in community ownership High There is a responsibility on the people of Lisdoonvarna to protect and maintain structures in trust for them
  33. 33. Delivery Implementation Project teams evolve based on the participants interest. To date the following teams exist: • Water ways enhancement Group • Sustainable Energy Community Group • Community Garden and Orchard • Biodiversity Group • Built infrastructure - bus stop, enhancement of the square etc • Communication Task Force • Community Sports & Facilities team Funding Opportunities Funding opportunities will be identified on an ongoing basis. To date these include: • Fáilte Ireland • The Heritage Council • Clare County Council • Clare Local Development Company • Grants Schemes for the Conservation of Protected Structures • SEAI Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !34 43
  34. 34. Monitoring progress Public workshops to foster engagement when undertaking projects. Include feedback and newsletter sign up sheets. Working group representatives to meet monthly out of the tourism season and whenever possible during peak season to discuss progress. Public meetings to be held to include representatives from all of the community groups and businesses twice a year. Evaluation of project impact and feedback. Record and report on events and milestones. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !35 43
  35. 35. Submissions and workshop recommendations Lisdoonvarna Failte: Strategies for a sustainable Lisdoonvarna community What does this strategy set out to do and how did we go about it? Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd sought to investigate how with its fantastic array of landscapes and natural resources, can capitalise on its incredible wealth of outdoor recreation activities to the benefit of its citizens, the local, regional and national economy; and how this could be done sustainably, by getting the balance right and cherishing the resource which unpins the potential for North Clare. Recreational Trail overview: The National Trails Office (2012, p.4) discusses the value of recreational trails, which are an important facilitator of outdoor recreation. Research conducted by the Irish Sports Council and Coillte (2006) estimated the direct economic expenditure by Irish trail users on accommodation, food, drink and trail equipment, etc. to be €307 million annually; and the value of the public good at €95 million. Fáilte Ireland estimated that over 800,000 overseas tourist engaged in walking on recreational trails in 2010 while on holiday, though this dropped to 578,000 in 2012 (see Table 6). Methods of optimising the use of existing outdoor recreation attractions and amenities must be explored to further enhance and promote them. The popularity of outdoor activities has increased in recent years, particularly in the area of adventure sports. Through this Study, there is an opportunity to create a unique brand selling the West as Ireland’s ‘Outdoor Recreation Destination’ for domestic and overseas visitors. In 2006 a National Countryside Recreation Strategy was prepared by Comhairle na Tuaithe under the auspices of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs39. The Strategy seeks to achieve sustainable and responsible recreation in the countryside, promote caring recreational use, develop a national framework that promotes the rights and responsibilities of both owners and users, develop a suitable structure to deliver a national countryside recreation service in a strategic and coordinated manner and secure a package of funding mechanisms to deliver on the objectives of the strategy. Eight principles were identified and are also promoted by the Regional Assembly. They are: Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !36 43
  36. 36. 1. Recognition of the value of countryside recreation in terms of improving quality of life, and delivering economic, social and health benefits. 2. Protection of the natural, cultural and built heritage of our countryside and of the natural environment, including wildlife habitats. 3. Full cognisance of the legal rights and concerns of landowners, who are predominantly the farming community and state agencies. 4. Acceptance of the need of recreational users to have reasonable access to the countryside and uplands. 5. Provision of education and awareness programmes to promote the responsible use of the countryside for recreational purposes. 6. Encouragement of farmers and other landowners to provide for outdoor recreation and to develop rural enterprises based on outdoor recreation, thereby providing them with the opportunity to benefit financially. 7. Development and maintenance of infrastructure both general and specific to the activities themselves, to provide for countryside recreation. 8. Centrality of quality to the provision of outdoor recreation, whereby outdoor recreational areas and related facilities are planned, designed and managed according to best international practices, including those relating to ‘access for all’ principles. Lisdoonvarna Fáilte is continuously seeking new ways to improve the outdoor spaces and activities to the community we believe the concept of an outdoor Fitness Park at the Pavilion Sports Park is capable of serving a diverse range of users, contributing to the overall health of the community, providing such benefits as: Providing a free social outlet for exercise, a much needed resource in the community combatting obesity through well-rounded workout opportunities that can be enjoyed by people of all abilities and fitness levels throughout the community: Increasing interest in related community services, such as nutrition education and health screenings The outdoor Fitness Park is located within sight lines of a playground, Pavilion, Crèche, and sports fields. It will promote active behaviour in adult family members, increasing the time spent at the playground, which can help develop a lifelong fitness mind-set in children promoting a sense of pride within North Clare. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !37 43
  37. 37. Lisdoonvarna is unique within Irish communities; Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd a community orginisation that’s considered to be the oldest on the island of Ireland and within its remit of Facilities the Largest in Ireland. The community of Lisdoonvarna has an extensive and active network of community groups and organisations, with a great range of community infrastructure. Under provision of sports facilities has been identified as a key concern for Lisdoonvarna. There is a significant land adjacent to the existing sports park with room for expansion.. It is recommended that a broader civic infrastructure audit should be carried out to identify existing and future needs, including sports and recreation. Several of the town’s key buildings that are owned and operated by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte are not sufficiently accessible to all. (Victorian Spa Wells). There are also access issues in relation to parts of the public realm (Gowlauns 50 acres of Land adjacent to the Spa Wells). Acknowledging the challenge of restoring older buildings and making them accessible without irrevocably damaging their architectural and heritage character, it is recommended that an accessibility audit should be carried out, with a view to incorporating its recommendations in longer-term public realm improvements.. Lisdoonvarna has excellent links to the surrounding countryside including Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren National park and the World famous Cliffs of Moher.. Some of these, however, are not well signed to visitors in what the town believes should resemble the Victorian element of the town and recommend they be in touch with that era of time. While the strength of the town’s community spirit is remarkable, there is a perception that a relatively small number of residents are doing a disproportionate amount of the ‘heavy lifting’. To address this, it is suggested that such groups could investigate the potential of social networking media to try to broaden awareness and involvement of a wider segment of the community in local affairs. The Square is a pivotal ‘set-piece’ in the town’s urban form that it represents the heart of the town in geographic and symbolic terms, however it is failing to live to its image or its potential as such the water fountain that was so much a fantastic part of Lisdoonvarna in yrs.’ gone by has been left to ruin as such public lighting that set up the square, the trees that surround the square are at a point where they will cause injury as the roots are protruding to the footpaths and are set to fall in the future a full reconstruction of the square needs to be implemented, although the square is part of the Trust property and managed by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd but in recent years this has been controversial with Clare Co co as to ownership. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !38 43
  38. 38. Although the library and its immediate surrounds have been restored to very high standards its grounds again fall on the remit of Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd the building itself has been leased to Clare Coco, further upgrades to the grounds and the re- opening of the waters (sulphur and Magnesium) pumps need to be looked at as a source of not only historic values but the character of the town in general. Victorian Spa Wells The existing Spa Wells adjacent to sulphur bridge should be considered as a priority for environmental improvements. The two rivers that merge here and is the start of the Allie river needs to be improved. The green space around the Spa Wells should be subject to a comprehensive redesign and improvement, having cognisance of the limited resources available for regular maintenance and the opportunities for biodiversity enhancement. It is recommended that works should include the following: Investigate the potential for restoring the Spa Wells centre a comprehensive feasibility study has been carried out by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte in conjunction with Clare Co co Improve flow of water and water quality. Start of pedestrian path through open space along the Alliee river towards the Twin wells as part of the Town Loop and connect to Heritage trial at the Pavilion geo park walk via the town. We can confirm a pathway along the Alliee river from the Spa Wells to the twin wells was in operation in since the later part of the 1800’s right up until 1910’s, We should stablish riparian vegetation; including native marginal aquatics e.g. 3. Bulrush and Iris. Groves of woodland planting (Beech, Pine and Oak) on the hilltops to 4. reflect historic planting elsewhere in the town. Open areas of the Pavilion park to be managed as meadows of wildflower and native grasses . with mown paths and clearings for recreation. Pavilion park walkway. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !39 43
  39. 39. Outdoor recreation can attract many visitors to rural, urban and peri-urban areas and can generate significant economic activity, sustaining existing businesses and creating new employment opportunities. It also adds to the quality of life and social character of rural communities. The Irish Sports Council (National Trails Advisory Committee), acknowledging that outdoor or countryside recreation is growing at a fast pace and has significant potential for further growth, is now preparing a new Irish Trails Strategy (expected in 2015). The quality of outdoor recreation is intrinsically linked to the quality of the natural environment of the Burren Region. Our society and economy can only be sustained if environmental carrying capacity is not exceeded. The dramatic Burren landscape is a major selling point for tourism and is enjoyed by residents alike so outdoor recreational activities must be sustainably planned, managed, maintained and responsibly used. The Burren has an array of landscapes, biodiversity and amenities, none so more than Lisdoonvarna a gateway to the Burren region. It has one of the largest populations in the region with the largest bed nights attributing to almost 300,000 per year. Walking and cycling are increasing in popularity among locals and tourists. The number of tourists who come to the west coast of Ireland for these types of activities has increased significantly over the last decade, and Lisdoonvarna is becoming a very sought after location in this respect. The variety of terrains to experience makes it an ideal location for these activities. The opportunity to enlarge the walking trails in Lisdoonvarna is enhanced more so with the most of the open lands around the town are now being opened up to the public by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte Ltd who are prepared to develop them for the betterment of the community and tourism. Cycling events are a common feature in all areas of the county, catering for families, beginners and more established enthusiasts. Examples include the annual Tour de Burren, a growing multi-distance cycling event which attracts some of the world’s top cyclists and is now an established part of the cycling seen. Many of Lisdoonvarna outdoor recreation attractions are unintentionally hidden in plain view and are known only to the lucky few. We are seeking to improve the facilities to attract greater numbers to participate in outdoor recreation activities. Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !40 43
  40. 40. Pavilion Park walkway programme aims to increase older people’s awareness of the benefits of an active lifestyle and of the wide range of opportunities for involvement in active living and recreational sport. The ‘Sustainable Trail Wheel’ which can be followed by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte in seeking to develop recreational trail at the Pavilion Park. The Guidance provides advice for planning viable recreational trails with long term appeal, identifying steps to follow and considerations during and after trail development. The NTO support trail which sit in harmony with the environment, have the support the local community; and which will be managed in the long term. 
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  41. 41. Submissions and workshop recommendations January 19th Participants proposed projects • Organised walks to explore the area and natural environment • River walks - find out if they are viable or ever existed before • Work on the park - make it more useful and community oriented • Heritage Sites - what do we have and what do we do with them • Improve the look of the town - pride of place • Find activities for Tourists - package what we have • Sort out the trees in the square - non native and unwell. • Bus stop is needed but has been tried before March 2nd Participants identified working groups • Community Garden including orchard, garden, picnic area, biodiversity in the park • The Square and landscape including trees, bus stop potholes, bus shelter, town square, Christmas tree project • Waste including cigarette bins • Biodiversity • Spa wells and development of the river walks, biodiversity and link to tourism • Communications • Sustainable Energy Community and Economy Potential Partners Lisdoonvarna Failte Lisdoonvarna Tourism Community Alert Secondary school Primary school GAA Soccer club Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !42 43
  42. 42. Heritage Group Burren Beo Conservation Burren Eco Tourism Network & Geo Park Lisdoonvarna Sustainable Community Plan 2017 - 2030 May 2017 Draft Page ! of !43 43

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