4.4 District Towns

Dúnta22 Nol, 2020, 9:00am - 12 Már, 2021, 5:00pm

4.4 District Towns

The Sustainable Place Framework in the RSES applies to towns and villages with a population over 1,500 people,[1] which provide housing, employment and service functions, ranging from commuter towns to more remote towns.

Graiguenamanagh, while it does not exceed this population threshold of 1,500, possesses many of the characteristics of a District Town, such as being close to the population level of 1,500 and having primary and second level schools.  If the area of Tinnahinch (within Co. Carlow) is included, the population in 2016 was recorded as 1,389.  Graiguenamanagh plays a significant role as a rural service centre and has its own Local Area Plan, which is currently under review and is likely to be adopted during the making of this Development Plan.

Table 4.5 Population of District towns as a percentage of County population 2016


Population 2016

% of County Population
















Local Area Plans for the District Towns of Callan, Castlecomer and Thomastown were reviewed and adopted by the Council between 2017 and 2019. The Graiguenamanagh LAP is currently under preparation. In general, these District Towns have well developed services and community facilities and have the capacity to accommodate additional population (subject to certain physical infrastructural investments).  Population growth in the Local Area Plans was projected on a proportional basis and zoning for land for housing was allocated accordingly. In addition to the proportional projected population growth, provision was therefore made in each of the District Town’s LAPs for targeted provision of Serviced Sites in accordance with NPO 18(b). 

As part of the preparation of the Housing Strategy for this plan, the potential to review upwards the population allocation for the District Towns was considered. This revision was set in the context of the overall county allocation, the particular function of the town in the County context, aligning all population projections to a common date, planning decisions since the adoption of the LAPs, the availability of Engineering Services Infrastructure (Water and wastewater), Social Services such as Primary and Secondary Schools and the ratio of resident workers and total jobs in the towns.  The assessment concluded that some 150 additional people could be allocated over the plan period to the towns of Callan and Thomastown over and above that allocated in their respective Local Area Plans.  Provided that water capacity issues can be addressed for Castlecomer, an additional population of 100 is considered appropriate over and above the adopted Local Area Plan.  These allocations will require amendments to the respective zoning maps of the adopted LAPs.  

Table 4.6 District Towns Allocation under Core Strategy


LAP population allocation

Core Strategy Allocation













The Council will ensure that the District Towns will in so far as practical be self-sufficient incorporating employment activities, sufficient retail services and social and community facilities.


[1] In identifying settlements under 1,500 as “rural” and above 1,500 as “urban”, the RSES reflects the CSO categorisation of settlements which is contained in the NPF.

[2] These figures do not include the Tinnahinch area in Graiguenamanagh

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