Limerick City Council

Conservation & Heritage

   Record of Protected Structures CDP 2010-2016 (PDF - 17,334 Kb)
   

Conservation Principles

The Architectural Heritage Protection – Guidelines for Planning Authorities were published in 2004 by the DEHLG and whilst primarily aimed at Planning Authorities, these guidelines are also of assistance to owners and occupiers of Protected Structures, proposed Protected Structures and buildings located in Architectural Conservation Areas. 

Sympathetic maintenance, adaptation and re-use can allow architectural heritage to yield aesthetic, environmental and economic benefits even when the original use may no longer be viable.  

Conservation can be recognised as a good environmental choice as the reuse of buildings rather than demolition and contributes to sustainability through retaining the embodied energy of buildings and reducing demolition waste.  In some cases it is more cost effective to renovate than demolish and rebuild.  Conservation also supports employment and skills, and provides for good quality jobs for artisans.  

It is the policy of Limerick City Council to positively encourage and facilitate the careful refurbishment of Structures of Architectural Heritage merit and Protected Structures for sustainable and economically viable uses.  

Limerick City contains 4 Architectural Conservation Areas, 435 Protected Structures and 138 Sites and Monuments.  

Protected Structures

The Planning & Development Act 2000 introduced legislation and methods for protecting the Architectural Heritage and introduced the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) to ensure that each Local Authority must include policies and objectives in its Development Plan for Protected Structures or parts of structures of special interest.  

A Protected Structure is a structure which is considered to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view.  The Record of Protected Structures (RPS) is a list of the buildings held by a Local Authority which contains buildings considered to be of special interest in its operational area.  Section 51 (of the 2000 Act) requires that the development plan shall include a Record of Protected Structures and that the Record shall include every structure which is, in the opinion of the Planning Authority, of special interest. 

The protection of a Protected Structure also extends to and includes all parts of the structure, including its interior, all land around it (curtilage), and any other structures on that land. The obligation also applies to all fixtures and fittings forming part of the interior of a Protected Structure or of any structure on land around it.  Each owner and occupier of a Protected Structure is legally obliged to ensure that the structure is maintained and safeguarded from endangerment.   

Each owner and occupier has an obligation to ensure that a Protected Structure or any element of a Protected Structure is not endangered through harm, decay or damage, whether over a short or long period, through neglect or through direct or indirect means. 

The Planning Authority now has greater powers under the Planning & Development Act 2000-2010 (As Amended) to ensure the protection of structures listed on the Record of Protected Structures. However, these powers are generally only used in exceptional circumstances when all other avenues have failed. The Planning Authority may:

  • Require an owner or an occupier of a Protected Structure to carry out works if it considers that the structure is or may become endangered.
  • Require an owner or an occupier of a Protected Structure to carry out works if it considers that the character of the structure ought to be restored.
  • Acquire, by agreement or compulsorily, a Protected Structure if it considers that this is desirable or necessary in relation to the protection of the structure. Where a Local Authority requires works to be carried out to prevent a Protected Structure from becoming or continuing to be endangered, the owner or occupier concerned may be eligible for a grant under the scheme of grants for the conservation of Protected Structures. 

Works to a Protected Structure

The effect of the designation of Protected Structure status is to ensure that any changes or alterations to the character of the building are carried out in such a way that the existing special character is retained and enhanced.  Therefore works which would in the opinion of the City Council, have a material effect on the character of the structure, require planning permission.  

Under the planning system, many minor works to structures do not normally require planning permission. These works are known as exempted development. However, for a Protected Structure, such works can be carried out without planning permission only if the works would not affect the character of the structure or any element of the structure that contributes to its special interest. Depending on the nature of the structure, planning permission could, for example, be required for interior decorating such as plastering or painting. A Declaration from the Local Authority is necessary as to the type of works which would or would not materially affect the character of the structure. 

Section 57 Declaration

Section 57 of the Planning & Development Act 2000-2010 (As Amended), allows for the owner or occupier of a Protected Structure or a Proposed Protected Structure to make a written request to the Planning Authority to issue a Declaration as to the type of works which it considers would or would not materially affect the character of the structure or any element of the structure, thereby clarifying which works would be considered exempted development. To apply for a Section 57 Declaration, a F10 - Works to a Protected Structure Application Form (176 Kb) should be completed and forwarded to the Planning & Economic Development Department, Limerick City Council, 1st Floor City Hall, Merchants Quay, Limerick.

Scheme of Grants for Protected Structures

Applicants are invited on an annual basis for consideration under the Conservation Grant Scheme for Protected Structures which operates each year to assist owners and occupiers to carry out conservation works to their Protected Structures. The scheme is part of a package of measures introduced by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government to strengthen the protection of the architectural heritage. The Grant Aid Information for each year is released in February of each year, please check website for information.  

Development in Architectural Conservation Areas

An Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) is a place, area, group of structures or townscape, taking account of building lines and heights, that is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or that contributes to the appreciation of a protected structure, and whose character is an objective of a development plan to preserve. 

Limericks' historic areas can be protected by means of Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA’s) under Section 81 of the Planning & Development Act 2000-2010 (As Amended).  The aim of designating areas is to protect their special characteristics and distinctive features from inappropriate actions. 

Archaeological remains are a non-renewable resource, therefore it is essential that they are properly safe-guarded and managed. A variety of different types of development may affect archaeological remains – these include new buildings, modifications and extensions to existing buildings, the construction of car-parks, road surfaces and the installation of services. 

It is the policy of Limerick City Council to protect and enhance the special heritage values, unique characteristics and distinctive features from inappropriate external works.  There are four ACA’s in Limerick City:

  • ACA 1A - South City Centre & Newtown Pery
  • ACA 1B - South Circular Road
  • ACA 1C - O’Connell Avenue
  • ACA 2 - John’s Square
  • ACA 3 - Ballinacurra Road
  • ACA 4 - Ennis/Shelbourne Road 

The locations, boundary and description of each Architectural Conservation Area can be found in Chapter 10 of the Limerick City Development Plan 2010 - 2016 (48,055 Kb)

Sites & Monuments Record

Archaeological sites are legally protected by the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 and the Planning Acts.  The National Record of Monument & Places (RMP) is a statutory list of all known archaeological monuments provided for in the National Monuments Acts.  It includes known monuments and sites of archaeological importance dating to before 1700AD, and some sites which date from after 1700AD.   

External Links

Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government www.environ.ie
The Irish Georgian Society www.igs.ie
The Heritage Council of Ireland www.heritagecouncil.ie

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Last update:21/02/2012

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