Proposed Amendment: Chapter 9.1
CHAPTER 10 – RURAL DEVELOPMENT
10.1 Rural Development Context
County Meath is a predominantly rural county in terms of land use, with a large rural population. The rural landscape which includes scenic river valleys and rolling farmland provides a tranquil setting. Rural areas within Meath are home to a diverse range of uses ranging from agriculture and equine industries, centres of local food production, recreational and tourist activities, established villages and one-off rural housing. Ensuring the continued vitality and viability of the rural area is a significant issue for the county, particularly in terms of how best to manage sometimes competing social, economic and environmental considerations. This chapter sets out the rural settlement strategy which is informed by the Core Strategy set out in Chapter 2 of this Development Plan and the Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area 2010-2022.
In addition, Meath County Council is cognisant of the Pilot CEDRA Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative launched by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government in May 2015 with funding allocated for a potential 18 pilot initiatives across the country at different levels of scale. REDZ are defined as functional rather than administrative geographic areas that reflect spatial patterns of local economic activities and development processes (i.e. they are sub county zones within which most people live and work). The pilot scheme is open to all Local Authorities in cooperation with their relevant REDZ communities and is a further source of portential funding to support rural economic development. It will be the strong intention of Meath County Council to make an application to the DoECLG for the inclusion of such a scheme in County Meath as part of the national pilot programme.
Under the REDZ Scheme Meath County Council/Meath Enterprise was successful in its application in 2015 to develop a Digital Hub at the Kells Enterprise Centre. It is intended that the Hub will then be marketed to new start up companies to function as incubation space and as a location for training programmes in digital innovation. Funding of €75.000 has been allocated to the project.