Local councillor Malcolm Noonan, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, and Jennie Noonan
Kilkenny City centre is a “huge, untapped resource” which could provide sustainable housing and accommodation for many more people and families, according to a local councillor.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan was speaking following the second in a series of ‘Talk of the Town’ events he has organised in recent weeks for people to share their thoughts on the future of the city centre. The event, held in the Pembroke Hotel, was moderated by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD.
The focus of the event was on the challenges facing town centres. Cllr Noonan said we need to dispel the myth that town centre living is unattractive or just for short term renting; it can and should be a place where children can grow up and thrive, as it was in the past.
“The most glaring and achievable goal that I see is that the town centre could and should be the focus of our attention in providing quality, affordable and eco-friendly housing and accommodation over the next decade,” he said.
“The brewery site, the old cash and carry site and the remaining undeveloped lands at the mart site could be developed as sustainable community and cooperative housing with a mix of private and social housing. We could accommodate many individuals and families by upgrading housing on the city’s lanes, above shops and bringing some vacant retail units back to full occupancy.
“This would maintain the viability of town centre shops, reduce car dependency and make for a more compact and environmentally friendly town centre.”
Other speakers at the event included Senator Grace O’Sullivan and Etaoin Holohan, curator and owner of the award winning Fennelly’s in Callan.
Those attending the event got involved in the discussion, offering a diversity of views. Many issues were raised such as increases in commercial rates, and their impact on shops, car parking charges, frustrations over public consultation, loss of built heritage and litter/illegal dumping.