2.1.1iThe population of Fethard town has continued to decline since 1971, showing a decline of 15% between 1971 and 1996. The population of the environs area and the Development District of Fethard have both grown by 22% and 12% respectively, despite the decline of the agricultural sector.
|Table 1. Population|
|Year||Fethard||Fethard Environs||Fethard Devt. District|
Note:?Fethard Development District comprises the District Electoral Divisions of: Ardsallagh, Cloneen, Colman, Fethard, Kiltinan and Peppardstown.
2.1.1ii The 1994 Plan projected that the population of the town and the environs would grow to 1,555 by 1998, a growth which was not achieved. This was largely due to the decline in the agricultural industry, the out-migration of the younger population, and household-formation age groups migrating to the stronger socio-economic centres such as Clonmel.
2.1.1iii A second reason for the lack of residential growth in the town relates to the increase in rural housing and the consequential rise in rural population.
2.1.1iv In order to strengthen the social and economic viability of the town and achieve sustainable development, it will be necessary to encourage new residential development in the town where public services exist. The redevelopment of derelict land and in-fill sites in the town for residential development will assist in achieving this aim.
2.1.2i Changes in population will be influenced by both in and out-migration. The recent changes in demographic and socio-economic trends have led to pressure for private housing throughout the county. Fethard has not experienced the pressure for private housing seen in other centres. While past trends have seen more activity in public and voluntary housing, it is likely that future private housing demand will be influenced by the following factors:
2.1.2ii In line with these changing trends the Council intends to see that the resources of the town are managed to their optimal use in line with the principles of sustainable development.
2.1.3i The town of Fethard has a significant amount of agricultural land on the fringe of the urban area to the north-west and to the south within the town boundary. However, much of the agricultural land to the south is not services by gravity sewer. This land also forms part of the visual link between the town wall the distant Market Hill. The protection of this link is vital to the preservation of the character of this area from visual and physical erosion by urban generated development, forms an important element of this Plan. Most development will, therefore, occur to the north and northwest in the foreseeable future.
2.1.3ii Urban areas within the town maintain good visual links with the countryside. The pressure for one-off houses on the urban-fringe, therefore, will be considered against the need to maintain important vistas and sustainable development. Alternatively the Council will encourage in-fill within the town, in line with the aims of sustainable development.
2.1.4i The people of Fethard have a strong sense of community identity. A Tourism Plan for the town completed by Bord Failte in 1994 showed that there was some 37 Community organisations/agencies in Fethard, each with an average of 20 members. These organisations are actively involved in the development of Fethard and will play a significant part in achieving the aims of Agenda 21.
2.1.4ii To this end, a new Community Council was formed in 1995 to co-ordinate these efforts, and this included training for members of the Community Council in the area of Community Development.
2.1.4iii The Council is determined to improve its links with community groups in order to integrate Council aims with community needs and to further advance the objectives of Agenda 21.