'Quite a number of premises not in keeping with a heritage town like Kilkenny’ says one councillor
Local councillors are to receive a report identifying compliance issues with shopfronts and businesses in Kilkenny City, with the issue of shop signage back under the spotlight.
Opening a recent city municipal district meeting, Mayor Michael Doyle noted an issue had arisen with some new signage that was ‘not in keeping with what you’d expect in the city’, and was hoping to have some resolution on it.
Cllr David Fitzgerald said he didn’t want to comment on an individual case, however, he called on the council executive to give a report at the December meeting on ‘compliance or otherwise’ regarding signage in the city, and to ensure ‘ the standard of the signage doesn’t fall below what we expect’.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan said he had brought a Notice of Motion less than a year ago that sought a review of signage policy.
“My own view is that it’s quite open to interpretation — or misinterpretation,” he said, adding that ‘quite a number of premises were not in keeping with a heritage town like Kilkenny’.
He noted a number of Kilkenny families had been associated with the art of signwriting, but this had been largely lost. He said with advances in technology like laser cutting, many businesses opt to use that as it is cheap and easy to maintain.
Director of services Tim Butler confirmed he couldn’t discuss individual planning cases, but the council’s planning department ‘is in discussions in relation to a number of properties’, and if signage was deemed to be an issue, further action would be taken.
Cllr David Kennedy said he did not share the same level of concern as some of his colleagues.
“I hear people’s concerns regarding signage, but you have to be realistic,” he said.
“That shop was vacant, and now it’s going to be bringing rates in. It is very hard to tell a multi-national company what signage to put up.
“It wouldn’t bother me as much. We’re here complaining about the lack of funding in the the city; it’s a big shop and it’s going to bring in big rates.”
Cllr Joe Malone didn’t agree with this assessment.
“There are planning laws in place — it’s not just open season,” he said.
“There are rules.”
Cllr David Fitzgerald asked that the members be given a report in relation to enforcement proceedings under way in relation to signage. He asked if it might be possible to have this report at the December meeting, and Mr Butler said he thought it would be.