Plans to demolish three houses on Vicar Street have been temporarily put on hold as the local authorities attempt to resolve a new issue with heritage body An Taisce.
An Taisce issued a solicitor’s letter to Kilkenny County Council last week regarding the demolition of the houses, which it says are part of the early Medieval complex of St Canice’s Cathedral, and, as such, part of a National Monument. The work was originally due to take place at some point in July.
It is understood that the council are now to issue a response to the solicitors acting for An Taisce this week. Demolition will remain on hold until the correspondence has been completed. All licences and approvals remain in place from An Bord Pleanala and the Department of Arts Gaeltacht and Heritage to deconstruct the buildings and to carry out archaeological investigations on site.
An architectural conservation inspection of 20 to 22 Vicar Street was carried out in late 2012/early 2013. The council has said that, to date, there is no archaeology or architecture of special significance associated with the terrace of houses, and that the CAS route has been carefully selected to avoid any known archaeology if possible.
But a local group opposing the scheme, CKRR, says the investigations were inadequate and contend that there is a strong possibility that the buildings contain Medieval fabric and warrant protection under National Monument Legislation. The group has been calling on the council to undertake full investigations of the terrace, in particular on the gable of no 22, in order to accurately ascertain the extent of Medieval remains.
The council has published a Q&A list on its website in an attempt to allay people’s fears.