6.13.1 Childcare Facilities
6.13.1 Childcare Facilities
The provision of childcare and early education facilities is recognised as a strategic piece of social infrastructure required to enhance children’s early learning experiences and enable people to participate more fully in society, particularly in accessing employment, education and social networks. National policy on childcare facilities is set out in Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities. Government planning policy on childcare is to improve the quality of childcare services for the community. The primary role of the Planning Authority is to facilitate childcare facilities in appropriate locations to high development standards. The Guidelines identify appropriate locations for childcare facilities including in the vicinity of concentrations of work places, of schools, of neighbourhood, district and town centres and adjacent to public transport corridors, park-and-ride facilities, pedestrian routes and dedicated cycle ways.
Kilkenny Council has worked with the Kilkenny County Childcare Committee, to improve the quality, provision and affordability of childcare in the city and county, and will continue to work with the County Childcare Committee in responding to the changing needs of society in terms of childcare demand and services.
The Planning Authority will ensure that any new facilities are suitably located, are of a high quality and are inclusive of all children, including children with disabilities. Developers are encouraged to liaise with the County Childcare Committee in advance of preparing planning applications in order to ascertain the local requirements. In so far as possible, the provision of childcare and early childhood education facilities should be adjacent to, or co-located with, other facilities required for other community use.
The Council will facilitate the provision of childcare and early childhood education facilities in a sustainable manner in appropriate locations which include the following: larger new housing estates, industrial estates and business parks, in the vicinity of schools, neighbourhood and district centres and adjacent to public transport facilities.
The Council will assess, in conjunction with the Kilkenny County Childcare Committee and the Local Community Development Committee, the continuing needs around childcare and related facilities and review progress on the provision of same during the period of this Plan.
22.214.171.124 Childcare Development Management Requirements
The Council will implement the Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities. Where a large housing development is proposed, i.e. seventy-five houses or more the planning authority will require the provision of a purpose-built unit for childcare on the site which shall have regard to the existing level of childcare provision in the area. The Council will operate this requirement in a flexible manner.
In general, childcare facilities will be assessed on the following:
- The suitability of the site/premises for the type and size of facility proposed, taking into consideration the effects on the existing amenities of the area.
- Adequacy of vehicular and pedestrian access and parking provisions, which may be required to include satisfactory and safe collection/drop-off areas where appropriate, for both customers and staff where it is merited by the scale of the development and the resultant intensity of vehicular movements.
- Provision of an adequate outdoor play area within the curtilage of all full day care facilities. This outdoor play area shall be located to have minimum impact on the amenity of surrounding properties, particularly in residential areas and should also be separate from car parking and service areas.
- The design of the structure and capability of it being assimilated satisfactorily in to the built environment.
- Ease of accessibility for all.
Applications for crèches, playschools and pre-school facilities shall comply with the Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities, Child Care (Pre-School Services)(No. 2) Regulations 2006 and the Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No2) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 and We Like This Place - Guidelines for Best Practice in the Design of Childcare Facilities (2005) (or any such other relevant standards and legislation that may be enacted) and shall be accompanied with information in relation to details of the proposed opening times, proposed number and age range of children, proposed number of staff, internal floor areas devoted to crèche, excluding areas such as kitchens, toilets, sleeping and other ancillary areas, details of external play areas and car parking arrangements for both parents and staff.
 Department of Environment and Local Government, Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 2001.