13.22 Rural Housing

Dúnta22 Nol, 2020, 09:00 - 12 Már, 2021, 17:00

​​​​​​13.22 Rural Housing

The rural settlement policy is set out in Chapter 7.  The Planning Authority has completed a County Kilkenny Rural Design Guide which is intended to provide assistance to people who are considering the development of a single house in the countryside. 

County Kilkenny enjoys an especially rich rural landscape setting and character that has a value far beyond agricultural uses. Aside from the desire to protect the countryside as a natural asset, there is a need to preserve rural areas for their scenic beauty, historical significance, and environmental importance.

However, rural Kilkenny is much more than a beautiful landscape that we can all enjoy, it must also function as an environment in which we can live and work. The countryside needs to evolve whilst retaining the character that makes it special and unique. It is important that design in rural areas meets with the aspirations of those building new homes, without compromising the integrity of Kilkenny’s long established rural signature.

The County Kilkenny Rural Design Guide aims to provide an insight into the key issues that will determine the success or failure of a new house in rural Kilkenny.

Its objectives are:

  • To improve overall design quality
  • To ensure maximum integration with the landscape
  • To draw on and reinforce traditional patterns of buildings in rural Kilkenny
  • To encourage innovation in design
  • To emphasise the value of sustainable and energy conscious design
  • To assist those involved in rural house building, by clarifying key design issues

Applicants and their agents are encouraged to consult with the guide before embarking on the rural housing project[1].

The following guidance may be of assistance in planning for a single house in the countryside:

  • Existing mature landscaping, particularly trees and hedges, should be retained where possible. Existing trees, buildings, slopes and other natural features can provide a setting. Where possible, well established boundaries (on all sides) which assist in assimilating the site naturally into its surroundings is encouraged. Sites which are carved out of the centre of larger fields are discouraged.[2]
  • Cutting and filling of sites is not desirable (see Kilkenny Rural Design Guide for positioning a house on a steep slope)
  • Sites which lead to ribbon development is not considered to be in the interest of the proper planning and sustainable development and is strongly discouraged
  • Reuse, adapt or extend existing rural structures where possible. Where historic or vernacular buildings are located on the site or land holding, consideration should seriously be given to their retention, and incorporation into any proposed development.
  • In siting a new dwelling, it is essential to look at the attributes and restrictions of the particular site, the site contours and the scale, form and orientation of any proximate or adjoining dwellings. The location, siting, orientation and the design of a proposed new dwelling in a rural location should be sensitive to its surroundings and should seek to integrate as much as possible into the landscape and not be a prominent feature that visually dominates its rural surroundings.[3]
  • Full consideration should be given to solar gain. The orientation of the proposed dwelling and internal layout should seek to maximise energy efficiency.[4]
  • Houses ideally should not break or significantly impose on the skyline when viewed from nearby roads or distant locations.
  • Direction should be taken from the historic building stock of the area, reflecting regional or local patterns in terms of scale, height, mass, form, layout, proportions, materials and architectural details/features.
  • Any proposed finish will only be permitted where the Council is satisfied that such finishes are in harmony with the surrounding landscape and the vernacular architecture.
  • Dwellings which are dominant, intrusive, or incongruous in a rural setting, will be discouraged.
  • Driveways should follow the contours of the site
  • The design of entrance gates should be in keeping with the rural setting. Applications for a dwelling in a rural area should include detailed drawings and specifications for entrance treatments. The roadside boundary should ideally consist of a sod and stone wall/earth mound planted with a double row of native hedgerow species e.g. Hawthorn, field maple, holly, blackthorn, hazel etc. Block walls and ornamental features will be discouraged[5].
  • The location for a house may impact on the exploitation of natural resources or vice versa  Refer to Section 7.5 Extractive Industries in this regard.



[1] https://www.kilkennycoco.ie/eng/Services/Planning/Rural-Design-Guide/

[2] Ibid page 34

[3] Ibid page 36-38

[5] Ibid pages 50-55

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