Two major developments approved for Castlecomer

Tess Felder

Tess Felder

TWO major developments in Castlecomer have been approved by Kilkenny County Council, although both will have to wait until the town’s public wastewater treatment plant has been upgraded.

The council has recommended that planning permission be granted for the construction of a hotel in the former convent on Kilkenny Street and a development including anchor convenience store, apartments, retail units and offices on the former Glanbia site in the town centre.

If work begins on both projects, development levies totalling e345,000 will be due to the council.

The hotel to be built by Rockfoyle Developments is to include 17 bedrooms, reception, function room, ancillary offices and facilities. An extension to the existing building is due to consist of a bar/restaurant, kitchen, function rooms, gymnasium, studio, ancillary rooms and facilities with underground storage and car park for 70 cars with a new vehicular access from Kilkenny Street.

The existing building is on the record of protected structure, and part of the site is located within the River Barrow and River Nore Special Area of Conservation (SAC). A condition of planning approval, therefore, is that a conservation architect must monitor the works on site and that works to the building must be carried out by a recognised heritage contractor with demonstrable skills and proven experience in the repair/conservation of historic structures.

A levy of e69,075 will be due to Kilkenny County Council upon the commencement of the proposed development, and two conditions relate to the council’s planned upgrade of the local wastewater treatment plant: Construction work on the proposed hotel “shall not commence until construction work on the upgrading of the Public Wastewater Treatment Plant in Castlecomer has begun”, and “the proposed hotel shall not be put into use until the Public Wastewater Treatment Plant in Castlecomer has been upgraded, commissioned and is fully operational”.

Retail and apartments

Meanwhile, the planned five development blocks on the former Glanbia site include an anchor convenience store (1,650 sqm gross floor area), 10 retail units, 11 offices, café/restaurant, gallery/multi-purpose space, 13 apartments and duplexes, landscape areas, pedestrian and cyclist routes, and a public car park.

As with the proposed new hotel in the town, a condition of permission for this development by Comerway Development is that construction must not start until building work has begun on the upgrading of the local public wastewater treatment plant, and that the restaurant, office units and retail units must not open until the treatment plant is fully operational.

The project is also subject to a e276,589 development levy to be paid to the council when work commences on the site.

The existing industrial/ agricultural structures are due to be demolished, but the Mill Building and single-storey annex adjoining the post office are due to be retained.

The proposed development blocks range from one to three storeys.

Block A includes an anchor convenience store with 1650msq at ground floor; three retail units; three offices; five apartments and eight duplexes; and a landscaped raised courtyard.

Block A is the largest block, the mass of this building has been broken down into a number of units through the positioning of window and door openings the use of a variety of finishing materials. The second floor of Block A is recessed back from the street.

Block B consists of retention of the Mill Building which is a protected structure and to change the use to a café/ restaurant on ground floor with a gallery area on ground and first floors. An extension to this building is proposed to consist of a kitchen and access area.

Block C contains five retail units and office units, while Block D includes the single-storey annex building which is to be retained and restored and used by a maintenance company for storage. Block E contains two retail units and four office units.