The proposed carpark will have seven spaces for buses and 132 spaces for cars, with access from the Central Access Scheme
A local councillor has described the decision to allow temporary car and coach parking on Kilkenny's former brewery site as 'regressive'.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan was the only elected member of Kilkenny County Council to vote against the proposal to accommodate a new temporary carpark on the Abbey Quarter site, at last week's full council meeting. The proposed carpark will have seven spaces for buses and 132 spaces for cars, with access from the Central Access Scheme.
Cllr Noonan says the move is aimed at maintaining a 'business as usual', car-dependent city, at a time when other European cities are moving away from facilitating more cars in old town centres. The Green Party councillor said that the decision, coupled with ongoing development on the mart site, represents a lost opportunity to fast-track housing - both private and public - tp help alleviate the current crisis and keep the town centre vibrant, where walking, public transport and cycling would be the mobility option of choice.
"I simply cannot understand the logic of this decision," said Cllr Noonan.
"There are under-occupied car parks in the town centre, carparks free at weekends, and an expanded city bus service coming early next year. Yet we are about to waste significant capital money on enabling works to accommodate a temporary car and coach park.
"It makes no sense and will do little for the aspiration of a walking medieval mile. Are we going to ferry visitors from one site to another?"
Cllr Noonan, who is his Party's spokesperson for Local Government, noted that the Kilkenny County Council is preparing to explore a new car parking strategy, a new mobility management plan and the implementation of the second phase of a HGV management plan.
"We have no idea of the pricing structure of the car park or how it will impact on our revenue from our car park or that of private car parks. We need to research and plan our town for a changed future, but we are now implementing plans that are not grounded in any future proofing or sustainable planning," he said.
Cllr Noonan added that increased visitor figures for Rothe House were encouraging, and there is evidence that the Medieval Mile and other key projects are beginning to spread revenue across other attractions.
"However, Kilkenny is not just for visitors; it is also home to vibrant communities, schools and businesses," he said.
"If we keep using this vastly excessive road infrastructure, constructed at excessive costs, we will get excessive traffic. Our reputation as a heritage town has been damaged by this road, and now we are completing the business park model by putting another flat surface car park in the heart of the Medieval city."