Dr. Brendan O’Keeffe, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick and Caroline Creamer, NIRSA, NUI Maynooth, both research associates with the International Centre for Local and Regional Development, have been invited to sit on a panel focusing on the review of Village Design Statements (VDSs). The review is being commissioned by the Heritage Council, the Irish national heritage agency with a role in proposing policies and priorities for the identification, protection, preservation and enhancement of the natural and built environment.
Village Design Statements are non-statutory, simple but effective design guidance documents which are prepared by, and aim to reflect the visions and desires of local people. It is thought that fifteen counties in the Republic ofIreland have prepared Village Design Statements but, to date, no evaluation has been carried out on their effectiveness or usefulness. The review now being commissioned by the Heritage Council, with the overall objective of examining the ways in which VDS projects have progressed and developed in Ireland and their adoption as Supplementary Planning Guidance, will take place over the coming summer.
The Heritage Council has appointed the Countryside and Community Research Unit (CCRI), University of Gloucestershire and BDOR Limited to undertake the evaluation of VDSs in Ireland. It is envisaged that a final report will be submitted by the consultants in mid-September, with the findings to be presented at a conference on Village Design Statements in October 2008. Other members of the Steering Committee include: Niall Cussen, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Dara Larkin, South Dublin County Council; and Deirdre Burns, Wicklow County Council.