St Kieran’s College to light the way for animation studio Lighthouse jobs

Studio's preference is ‘city centre or as near as possible’

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

LIGHTHOUSE

Lighthouse Studios appears to have found a new temporary home in the grounds of secondary school St Kieran’s College

Local animation company Lighthouse Studios appears to have found a new temporary home in the grounds of secondary school St Kieran’s College.

It follows a decision by local councillors to approve a material contravention of the Kilkenny City and Environs Development Plan allowing a temporary change of use of part of the front range of St Kieran’s College to ‘office’ use.

Lighthouse Studios, is a joint venture between local studio Cartoon Saloon and Canadian company Mercury Filmworks. Last February, it was announced that the joint venture will create over 140 jobs over three years. The IDA-supported company has 70 of these jobs in situ, and this expansion will help to allow the total number to be realised.

At last week’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council, director of services Sean McKeown told members that Lighthouse has been trying to find a premises to expand, and their preference is ‘city centre or as near as possible’. The majority of the company’s staff tend to walk or cycle to work, living in nearby rental accommodation.

St Kieran’s College has the capacity to accommodate this on a temporary basis, for a period of about three years, while they try to find a permanent base.

Mr McKeown said the council was ‘positively disposed’ toward the application, however, St Kieran’s College was zoned ‘community facilities’. The proposed change of use is temporary, for a maximum of three years, and related to Lighthouse Studios only.

The application relates to 2,179sqm of temporary offices from the basement up to the second floor. No material alterations are proposed for the building,

Cllr Malcolm Noonan said he thought that the proposal was ‘a good fit’ on a temporary basis to keep the company in the city centre. He added he thought that the council should be looking at other potential premises, including on the former brewery site.

All the members present supported the proposal, which was thus agreed.