Citing the Central Access Scheme as an “urgent requirement,” Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce have added their weight to the debate in favour of the new roadway.
The scheme, which includes a new bridge over the Nore, has attracted heated debate and a campaign proposing the halting of the development has gathered momentum in recent months.
Already plans are very much underway for the Brewery Quarter, described as an exciting development by Chamber President Donie Butler. “For Kilkenny, to attract 1,000 jobs, and a further 1,000 students and all that entails is simply marvellous. It will be great for business and great for Kilkenny. We have a real opportunity here to overtake everywhere else in the South East. There’s 85,000 people in Kilkenny, 23,000 in the city and we are already punching above our weight. The proposed plans would make Kilkenny stand out, and stand up, nationally,” he added.
“A minority group does not have a monopoly view on Kilkenny and it’s heritage. We all want the very best for our city and county and the Chamber has always been vigilant in this regard. I remember some time back someone proposed a glue factory for the castle before it becamed what it is today!
“We are there to ask the hard questions and get the right actions for Kilkenny to thrive. And in this case, with €11 million of funding available to build the Central Access Scheme, it simply has to be done.
“Plans for the Brewery Quarter are excellent, and people say the Medieval Mile will be cut off from St Canice’s. In fact on the plans there is more pedestrian access to crossing Dean Street than there is now, and the road is not going to be widened.
“The Local Authorities have examined the houses on Vicar Street and it seems one gable end is of historic significance and this will be maintained just like other important heritage sites in the city - it’s not actually on the road,”he added.
“Kilkenny has to be commercially turnkey ready....and a change in direction of the plans at this will have financial implications for the taxpayer.”
Tourism is one of the corner stones of Kilkenny’s local economy, and protecting it’s heritage has to be a priority. “The Brewery Quarter will open up an important part of Kilkenny. even the positioning of another coachpark will be a big boost and apart from the bewery and St Canice’s it will also be great for the Black Abbey area,” said Mr Butler.
The Mart site being opened up is also a huge plus for the city. “The city has 2,500 car park spaces, but the bulk of them are in Market Cross, Ormonde Street and MacDonaqgh Junction. More car parking at the Mart would be an option, but we should also consider a new secondary school in that part of the city,” he added.
Outer Relief Road
The Chamber President revealled that the Outer Relief Road is also high on their priorities, and said it is due to be completed within seven years and plans are being drawn up.
“With the CAS and then the Outer Relief road completed, we will be in an exceptional position in the coming years.”