The 22km-long ‘Greenway’ in south Kilkenny is to connect Ferrybank and New Ross along a disused railway line
A number of new and existing businesses are already exploring potential opportunities arising from the new Kilkenny Greenway, on which it’s expected work will begin early next year.
At the September meeting of the Piltown Municipal District, director of services Sean McKeown updated local councillors on the project. A detailed design process is currently under way, and meetings have taken place with the vast majority of the more than 70 landowners affected. The remaining consultations will take place over the next few weeks with regard to accommodation works required. The detailed design first draft is set to be in by the end of November.
Mr McKeown said the procurement process will then likely take two to three months, so work could be starting by March 2020.
Cllr Fidelis Doherty asked if there had been much engagement from the business community. Mr McKeown confirmed that a number of existing businesses are looking to expand in light of the greenway development, and some new businesses are also looking to come in. A number of planning applications are being progressed already, and an information session aimed primarily at businesses is due to take place in the coming weeks.
As regards funding, a further €2 million has been sought under a different fund, but given the project has already been successful in one allocation, there are no guarantees of more.
“We got €8 million in funding but we estimate the development will cost €13.5 million,” said Mr McKeown.
Should no extra money be secured, the remaining funds will have to come from the relevant local authorities. These local authorities are also to write to CIE seeking the abandonment of the disused line on which the greenway will be based. CIE will consider the proposal at a board meeting, however, there is a process that must be adhered to:
“It will be the end of January next year at the earliest for confirmation of abandonment is our best guestimate at the moment,” said Mr McKeown, adding that abandonment would certainly be a plus and would give greater control, but in any case, there is a license agreement, and the greenway would proceed.