Have your say on the future of Kilkenny city

Members of the public will have a chance to offer their opinions in the coming weeks on how Kilkenny city should change and grow as the city’s Development Plan for the next six years is drafted by Kilkenny County Council.

Members of the public will have a chance to offer their opinions in the coming weeks on how Kilkenny city should change and grow as the city’s Development Plan for the next six years is drafted by Kilkenny County Council.

Over the last number of years, there has been significant investment in Kilkenny. Issues such as public spaces, water supply and wastewater infrastructure, transport and pedestrian infrastructure, community facilities and many more, have been tackled.

Key projects have been completed (The Watershed, the Parade, Radestown Water supply) and a number of others are currently under way (the Central Access Scheme and Purcellsinch waste water treatment plant upgrade).

Between 2006 and 2011, Kilkenny city’s growth outpaced the national growth rate. A total of 24,423 people now live in the city, according to Census 2011. This is a growth rate of 10.1% since 2006, compared to a national growth rate of 8.2%.

This means that Kilkenny city continues to be an attractive place to live, which is good news. But increased population growth brings with it increased demands on services, and a need for new, quality residential developments.

How are our current services standing up to this increased pressure? Where are cracks beginning to show? What improvements are needed to meet the demands of this larger population? These are some of the questions the local authority will be considering in the Development Plan for 2014-2020.

The development strategy is based around the principle of the “compact city,” an urban layout that encourages walking and cycling. In this model, the city centre is supported by four neighbourhoods focused on neighbourhood centres: Loughboy/Archerstreet; Newpark Upper/Eastern Environs; Loughmacask; and Poulgour/Wetlands/Western Environs.

Each is at a different stage of development, and residents are asked to consider whether their neighbourhood has the facilities and services it needs, and what could be done to improve the area.

The council will also be asking: How can footpaths and cycleways be progressed further with limited resources? Should the one-way system for the city centre, which has been shelved for the present, be restored in order to improve shoppers’ experience in the city, or do the costs outweigh the gains? Will any opportunities emerge with the completion of the Central Access Scheme, and how can this change be best managed? What should be done with the St Francis Abbey Brewery site?

Kilkenny local authorities will be holding a series of meetings around the city and county during June, July and August. Meetings will be held in Kilkenny City on June 19 and July 24, both in the Parade Tower of Kilkenny Castle at 7.30pm.

There will be a short presentation on the Development Plan and then a chance for people to speak to a member of the planning team to have their views heard and their questions answered.

Members of the public can make a submission on these topics, or on any other Development Plan issue, between June 15 and August 24, and more information is available at www.ourplan.kilkenny.ie.