Chapter 4: Economy, Tourism, Education and Retail

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Chapter 4: Economy, Tourism, Education and Retail

Strategic Objectives

  • To assist and ensure that:

    (i) Waterford City is enabled to build its critical mass and fulfil its role as a driver for regional development in the South East Region, and

    (ii) The provision of key investment priorities throughout the city and county is facilitated, whilst ensuring they develop in a sustainable way with a good quality of life and opportunities for all citizens.
  • To provide opportunities which encourage sustainable low carbon and resilient economic growth, innovation, and commercial activity and create opportunities for new economic growth and employment, in both urban and rural areas that are both appropriate for, and attractive to, the needs of different industries, while at the same time identifying, coordinating and improving the provision of infrastructure necessary to allow Waterford City and County to grow and prosper over the long term.
  • To develop, deliver and promote Waterford as a year-round world class tourism destination, with authentic, memorable experiences which attracts local, regional, national and international visitors generating long term and lasting benefits to enhance and support local communities and realise additional economic growth, jobs and prosperity for the people of Waterford.
  • To develop and market Waterford as a ‘UNESCO Learning City’, and to provide the necessary infrastructure, education and employment opportunities, complete with a University of significance, and associated accommodation, amenities and the quality of life to enable Waterford to compete at a national and international level as a modern European city of scale and significance.
  • To ensure that Waterford City asserts itself as the primary retail and commercial destination of the South East Region through the meaningful redevelopment of key sites within the City Centre and the strategic development of the North Quays

4.0    Introduction

Our vision is to Support a strong, sustainable, resilient and successful economy, underpinned by enterprise, innovation and skills, and access to quality education for all.

This will be facilitated by creating places that can foster enterprise and innovation, and attract investment and talent, and can be achieved by building regional economic drivers for Waterford as listed in the SRSES and by supporting opportunities to diversify and strengthen the economy, to leverage the potential of places.

Access for all to a range of quality education facilities is a defining characteristic of attractive, successful and competitive places. We will achieve this by supporting the growth and development of all learning institutions, and promoting and fostering links with business/ enterprise and technological innovation. The development and enhancement of Lifelong Learning and Healthy City initiatives in Waterford will be essential components of achieving UNESCO Learning City/ Region status. The Development Plan will also support the development of the Learning City/ Region initiative to other urban and rural centres of population through existing networks (e.g. the Library Service), and support the preparation and implementation of a Learning Region Strategy.

Employment and economic growth play a vital role in the planning system in delivering sustainable goals for the public good, improving the social and economic prospects of all residents, and the economic health and resilience of our city and county. Waterford must be “open for business” to become a successful, resilient and sustainable place, meeting the many different and changing needs and location requirements of the different sectors and sizes of business. Such an outlook also requires a concentrated, co-ordinated and collaborative cross-sectoral and cross-departmental approach, which seeks to deliver initiatives in a targeted manner and with a strategic focus.

A proactive and active land management process, with strategically located land banks (brownfield and Greenfield), is key to facilitate economic growth and development. To promote a diverse and resilient economy we will have to build on our existing assets (natural, cultural, and built environment), and put into practice new ideas from our colleges, research organisations, and our skilled workforce. We also need to improve our connections through upgrades to our transport and high speed digital communications networks, and play a more proactive role towards a low carbon economy.

In respect of the key broad functions and core elements which the Development Plan can support in relation to economic development, these include:

  • Setting out a planning framework for economic development that is in line with the plan hierarchy, settlement hierarchy and Development Plan Core Strategy and supports communities across Waterford;
  • Ensuring an adequate supply of zoned and serviced land for economic and employment- generating uses and growth at appropriate locations;
  • Developing a strategy for retail and tourism/ leisure;
  • Promoting and facilitating an improvement in the quality of life in all parts of the City and County;
  • Supporting the provision of education facilities and the knowledge economy in order to assist in fostering a culture of innovation, lifelong learning and life skills;
  • Facilitating and supporting entrepreneurial activity and clustering opportunities;
  • Supporting sustainable employment growth around Waterford’s natural resources;
  • Supporting key sectors for growth, including those at strategic transport/ access locations;
  • Provide a consistent approach to economic development that in turn generates certainty and clarity for applicants, developers and investors involved in the development process; and,
  • Provision of a framework of development management standards to promote best practice implementation of development in order to ensure and contribute towards a sustainable and high quality environment.

Our approach to assisting in delivering balanced economic growth and development is underpinned by four priorities:

  • Investing in our people and our infrastructure in a sustainable way;
  • Fostering a culture of innovation, research and development;
  • Promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity through local and regional cohesion; and,
  • Promoting integrated connectivity to boost our collaborations, trade and investment, health and wellbeing.

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