THE last stage of the proposal to develop the John’s Green area of Kilkenny city was passed by Kilkenny Borough council but with serious criticism of the An Taisce’s submission to the council.
An Taisce had suggested that the proposed redevelopment had conflicted with the local development plan. They had also recommended removing all of the parking and that the multistorey car park at McDonagh station be used as that main parking site for the John’s Green area. In a submission to the borough council An Taisce had described the plans as car-centred and with no indication of bicycle lanes, bicycle parking stands, bus stop, or even pedestrian pathways through the maze of car parking.
There was a submission from Centra supermarket for the inclusion of mother and child car parking spaces. Senior Engineer Kieran Fitzgerald altered the plans to include the specialised larger car parking spaces.
Cllr Joe Reidy (Fianna Fail) strongly criticised An Taisce. He said “I’ve been in this chamber for 12 or 13 years and I don’t think An Taisce have ever agreed with any plans that we’ve produced and once again we see it here this evening. It shows a total lack of knowledge of what we are about. If An Taisce’s observations were included, it would result in the closure of all the businesses in John’s Green, because I can’t see anybody coming across to the supermarket in John’s Green after parking in McDonagh Junction.”
Cllr Paul Cuddihy (Fine Gael) described the plans as showing intelligent design, the only alteration that he asked for was the inclusion of public information plaques explaining the historic importance of the John’s Green area to Kilkenny city.
Cllr Sean O’hArgain (Labour) paid tribute to Alan Cunniffe, who he said had very definite plans for what he wanted to see happen in this area. Cllr O’hArgain said “If it wasn’t for him and a number of other residents we’d be looking at a very different plan, but thankfully they’ve been listened to.”
Cllr Betty Manning welcomed the development of the area which she said would be just as effective in fostering community spirit as any community centre.