Housing will be delivered in Kilkenny’s Abbey Quarter.
Concerns were raised earlier that a portion of the site had been given to a hotel on Vicar Street for its expansion. (Read about that here).
The local authority’s Chief Executive says it did swap a piece of ground with the hotel in 2019, which was approved by the council, to regularise the shape of the area concerned as it wasn’t the easiest shaped site. It disposed of a 654 metres squared piece of ground & got in return 400 metres squared with €70,000 as balance.
Colette Byrne confirmed too that planning permission has been submitted for a 120 space car park on what would have been called Plot 7 on the Master Plan but stresses this is for temporary or ‘meanwhile’ use for up to seven years while waiting for other development to happen.
She adds a lot of work’s been done to provide a variety of the Master Plan’s provisions to date and says housing is coming, telling KCLR News “It’s not that we’re forgetting about residential, we certainly are not, I suppose our priority was to get the two buildings (Brewhouse and Mayfair) that are remaining on the site back into use to progress with the public realm that will allow the whole site to be opened up and in the meantime we’re having conversations with relevant stake holders, I suppose, around how we deliver housing on the site”.
Meanwhile, the council’s adamant that housing remains to the fore of its work.
Ms Byrne says “It’s been challenging over the last few years but Kilkenny is doing well, if we were to look back in the last two years we delivered five units in Greensbridge House which was an existing building that we purchased and brought back into use, there’s been 12 units delivered at The Good Shepherd, six units by the SOS, there was 54 units developed by Respond up by Ballybought Street, 27 units which was the building left unfinished at Walkin Street”.
As for current project Ms Byrne notes “At the moment we have about 30 units under development at Nuncio Road, there’s 40 units out at Margaret’s Field and the contractor is on site at the Bróg Maker which was an existing building brought back into use with additional units being provided beside it, we have units being developed at Hebron Road and, I suppose, the big development we’re trying to move forward now at the moment and hopefully we’ll get on site early next year would be the development at Croker’s Hill”.
She adds “There are other smaller developments, Golf Links Road there’s six units at detailed design that should go to tender next year so, while it’s challenging certainly there’s significant developments happening, they are in partnership with approved housing bodies, some of them are turnkey developments where private developers develop them and the council acquire them and bring them into our ownership as social housing so there’s a whole mix, I suppose, of how we work to meet the housing needs out there and, I mean, we’re very conscious of the housing demands and certainly Kilkenny will be up there, we’ll meet our targets by the end of the current programme nationally, we’re on track despite Covid and the challenges there and it’s not just the city, we have housing schemes all around the county under construction at the moment, out in Ballyragget, we’re in Castlecomer, we’re in Piltown, so there’s schemes under development around the county as well”.