The owner of a group of one-bedroom apartments that accommodate single people on lower incomes has applied for planning permission to retain them in their current form.
Peter Dore has applied to Kilkenny Borough Council seeking “permission for retention of 25 one-bed, short-term, one-person, independent living residential units and one two-bed, short-term, independent living unit, together with permission for development to include construction of three car parking spaces, a bin storage area, cycle parking stand” and associated works at Bianconi Court, Black Friars Bridge, Abbey Street, Kilkenny.
The application notes an under-supply of such one-bedroom accommodation in the city, and three of the current residents submitted letters with the application outlining the benefits to them of living in Bianconi Court and how they feel very much at home there.
“Bianconi Court addresses a necessary but often neglected sector of housing provision, that of lower-income single person households who seek independent accommodation, often on a short-term basis,” the application states.
It notes that the site was originally part of a bacon factory that included the older warehouse structure that fronts onto Abbey Street, and that in 1996, planning permission was granted to convert the warehouse into six two-bedroom apartments and four three-bedroom houses in a semi-detached block. “This was completed in 1999 and all conditions of the grant were complied with.”
The current owner took over the site in 2004, and “on the basis of previous experience, Mr Dore was happy to let to lower-income single-person households, many of whom were in receipt of social welfare and rent allowance. Initially the tenants shared the existing house and apartments, however tenants made it clear that they would prefer single-occupation units as opposed to the shared units.
“Following these requests between 2005-06 the applicant converted the units in the complex to single self-contained single-person units and one unit into a two-bedroom shared unit. These are the subject of this retention,” the application states.
Since conversion, the Bianconi Court has generally had full occupancy of all units and thus has been providing accommodation for 27 people, it notes.
It also refers to a “strong sense of community within the complex.”