The site when it was still in use as a brewery. Photo: Eoin Hennessy
Local councillors have agreed to begin a process to vary the city development plan to allow for the creation of a temporary, flat-surface carpark on the former brewery site, the Abbey Quarter.
The locations being suggested are two plots of land either side of the new St Francis Bridge. The proposed variation will now go on display for input and feedback from the public.
It is also envisioned that some of the space will be used for a bus/coach carpark to attempt to more evenly distribute tourist numbers at both ends of the city.
At a council meeting on Monday, senior engineer Tony Lauhoff gave members a presentation on parking in the city. A recent study commissioned by the council has suggested Kilkenny will need more than 1,000 additional parking spaces in the coming years.
There are presently around 4,500 spaces in the city, over half of which are privately-owned multi-storey carparks as opposed to the barrier-operated public car parks, pay-and-display, and on-street spaces. The presentation also contained a recommendation to consider new multi-storey carparks at a number of locations in the future, if the site masterplan is fully realised. Various local councillors expressed opposition to multi-storey options which might detract from city views.
Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council Colette Byrne said the variation would not preclude the potential for housing at Sweeney’s Orchard, and housing remains an objective throughout the site.
Cllr Patrick McKee has said a long-term approach is required, and undeground options should be considered.
“We must ensure we develop a thriving city center where commercial activity is supported, the housing needs of our people facilitated and our historic city landscape is protected. We don’t need a multi-storey car park to achieve any of this,” he said
“I find it bizarre that some of my colleagues are arguing that this shouldn’t be discussed now because the development of a multi-storey carpark is five or ten years off. God forbid we would take a long term view on the matter.”