Kilkenny County Council has agreed to sell a greenfield site at the Hebron Road just inside the city’s ring road to McDonald’s for €850,000 – within a week of a planning application for a fast-food restaurant on the site being approved by the council.
The site is located between the ring road and St Mary’s Avenue group housing scheme for Travellers, south of the Millennium Court housing estate and opposite Walsh’s Toyota salesroom. The adjacent roundabout connects with the N10, which brings traffic to and from the M9 motorway.
Council members were told that the money from the sale will be used for a Traveller horse project, which will be located on the opposite side of the ring road, and towards the purchase of the St Francis Abbey Brewery site from Diageo that was agreed earlier this year, according to Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Greens).
The planning permission also includes a condition that a development charge of €22,500 will be due to the council when work on the development commences.
The approved planning application by McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland is for a McDonald’s drive-through 24-hour restaurant and takeaway. It comprises a single-storey drive-through restaurant, vehicular and pedestrian accesses, 67 car parking spaces, bicycle parking, lighting signage, outdoor seating area and road works on the Hebron Road.
The planning file includes a letter from County Council director of services John Mulholland submitted in May of this year stating that the council consented to the application being made for a development on the council-owned land.
One public submission was made concerning the application, from Michael J. Kenny of Grosvenor Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6, who owns land adjoining the site. He submitted that approval of the development would be premature while a planning application for a fast-food restaurant at a nearby site was being considered by An Bord Pleanála; that the impact of such a development on the River Nore Special Area of Conservation was unclear; and that there were implications for traffic and surface water in the area.
All of the council members present at the council’s monthly meeting on Monday supported the sale of land to McDonald’s except for Cllr Noonan, who objected to the location of the fast-food restaurant – and the timing of it as Kilkenny is in the midst of participating in the Healthy Towns initiative. He said afterwards that he also objected to the lack of discussion at either a Kilkenny electoral area meeting or a full council meeting about the sale of land. He said the matter had been on the agenda at electoral area meetings but had been withdrawn for “technical reasons.”
Cllr Noonan also said the land should have been sold before any planning application was submitted.
The proposed drive-through will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which the council determined was reasonable considering that the location is “away from city-centre night-time uses such as public houses and nightclubs,” its proximity to the ring road, and the orientation of the building and car park away from the neighbouring residential estates.
It was proposed to include two 10-metre illuminated signs on the site, but the planners ruled that only one sign would be permitted, in line with what was granted at the Toyota salesroom on the opposite side of the road. The sign height was also reduced to 7 metres so that it would not be higher than the neighbouring houses.
A further condition of the planning permission is that site and building works must be carried out between 7.30am and 6pm Monday to Friday and between 8am and 2pm on Saturdays, with internal works allowed from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and no work allowed to be carried out on Sundays or public holidays.