The former Irish Nationwide building at No 1 High Street has been given the green light to be turned into a retail/coffee shop.
Kilkenny Borough Council has granted planning permission for the plans by Pat and Siobhan Mahon regarding changes to the protected structure at the corner of High Street and Ormonde Street. The three-storey end-of-terrace building is currently vacant.
One third-party submission regarding the proposed development was made by Thomas Clarke of The Fig Tree restaurant at 20 High Street, who argued that there is already a sufficient number of cafes/restaurants in the city centre. The council ruled, however, that “the City Centre LAP (Local Area Plan) recognises the added dynamism and interest that particular non-retail uses, specifically cafes, restaurants, public houses and bars – but excluding fast-food outlets – can bring to the retail core. The LAP encourages the location of such uses in the retail core but discourages the clustering of such uses where they would detract from the essential character of the city centre.”
“The proposed development would not give rise to clustering of coffee shops in the area,” the planners wrote. “The change of use would not displace an existing retail use or detract from the essential character of the retail core as set out in ... the City Centre LAP. Furthermore, the Planning Authority is not a competition regulatory authority.”