6. Kilkenny City: Placemaking

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

6. Kilkenny City: Placemaking

6.1 Introduction

The National Strategic Outcomes in Chapter 1, and the National Policy Objectives in Chapter 2 of the NPF set a Framework to make our cities, towns and villages the places where many more people choose to live, as well as to work and visit, by 2040[1].

Place-making is a multifaceted approach to improving and creating quality places.  It focuses on the interaction between people and the urban environment and achieving a high quality of life, sense of place and belonging. It is supportive of and overlapping with the concept of sustainable towns and cities.  Planning and urban design play a central role in realising quality places.

6.2 The Making of Quality Place

It is the policy of the Council to make Kilkenny city a more attractive and ‘liveable’ place that will offer a quality of life that more people are willing to choose in the years ahead.

An important policy of the Council is to revitalise the City and the spaces within it through creative and regenerative place-making, to assist in the delivery of compact growth. 

Building on the policies of the previous plans[2] the Council has embarked on an ambitious regeneration of the Abbey Quarter area within the City with a Masterplan[3] and an Urban Design Code[4].


Quality places share some common characteristics such as:

  • A strong character and sense of place
  • which has cultural, built and natural heritage understood, valued and enhanced
  • A rich diversity of functions and activities
    • underpinning viability and vitality.
    • A well-connected network of streets and spaces of high quality for all users
    • which promotes urban life, community coherence and sense of shared ownership.
    • Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport
      • to reduce our reliance on the car, thereby contributing to health and wellbeing).

There are also critical links between the quality of urban place-making and business investment/job creation. Place-making is identified as a key differentiator in Enterprise 2025, Ireland’s National Enterprise Policy 2015-25. It is a priority of the enterprise strategy to “realise the full potential of our regions through investments in place-making – developing places that are attractive for business investment and for people to live and work[5].

Strategic Objectives:

The Strategic Objectives related to placemaking as stated for Kilkenny County are also applicable to Kilkenny City and these (objectives 6A and 6B) as set out in Chapter 6, Volume 1 of the Plan.

​​​​​​​6.3 Residential Development

​​​​​​​6.3.1 Housing Provision

As part of the preparation of the Housing Strategy a Housing Needs Demand Assessment was undertaken to inform key decisions on housing need and supply in Kilkenny City.

The needs of various groups, including the homeless, travellers and older persons are addressed as part of the Housing Strategy. This Strategy is incorporated into the Development Plan in Appendix B, which informed the Core strategy for the City which contains the details on the provision of land zoning to accommodate the projected population growth. The availability of zoned land is not expected to act as a constraint over the course of the Development Plan 2021– 2027. Please refer to the Core Strategy for Kilkenny City.

The principal features to emerge from the analysis presented in this housing strategy, applicable to Kilkenny City are as follows:

  • Based on the Roadmap for the National Planning Framework and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy, for the period 2016 to 2027, housing provision for a total of 3,641 additional people, representing approximately 1,324 new households will need to be provided for to meet the population targets set for Kilkenny City in the NDP and RSES. Social Housing

The existing local authority waiting list for Kilkenny City is c.1,093[6]. Current social housing projects comprise 389 social units under construction or planned for Kilkenny City. Currently 55% of the County’s social housing demand is in the city, and it is expected that this would continue into the future. The majority of houses required are one (430 no.) and two-bedroom (428 no.) units.

It is the view of the Planning Department that the requirements of Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 in relation to any particular site should be incorporated into any development proposal at an early stage in the development process.  The Council will therefore require housing developers to whom the 10% requirement will apply to discuss the likely terms of Part V agreements at pre-planning consultations.  Both the Council and the developer would thus have a common understanding of the nature of the likely agreement before detailed designs are prepared for any planning application.

Conditions attached to planning permissions for residential development will require developers to enter into an agreement with the Council in relation to the provision of social housing in accordance with the housing strategy. 

​​​​​​​ Universal Design

Given the wide diversity of the population, a universal design approach, which caters for the broadest range of users from the outset, can result in buildings and places that can be used and enjoyed by everyone.  That approach eliminates or reduces the need for expensive changes or retrofits to meet the needs of particular groups at a later stage.

In all development proposals it will be the policy of the Council to promote Universal Design and Lifetime Housing in accordance with best practice and the policies and principles contained in Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach[7] and Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas[8] and its companion document Urban Design Manual: A best practice guide[9].

Housing Objectives

C6A        To implement the provisions of the Housing Strategy contained in Appendix B.

C6B        To require 10% of the land zoned for residential use, or for a mixture of residential and other uses, be made available for the provision of social housing.

C6C        To require that a mixture of residential unit types and sizes are developed to reasonably match the requirements of different categories of households within the city and county.

C6D        To implement the provisions of the Traveller Accommodation programme 2019-2024 and any updates thereof.

Housing Development Management Requirements

Quality in the context of urban development means the development of a high-quality built environment through the promotion of high-quality urban design.  The Council will have regard to and apply the Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas and its companion document Urban Design Manual: A best practice guide[10], in assessing and dealing with housing developments. 

For good place making, all design should accord with best practice and address the 12 Criteria for Assessment as set out in the Guidelines for Sustainable Residential Development[11]. These criteria will be used at pre-application meetings and in the assessment of planning applications as required.

The 12 Criteria are:

  1. Context:              
  • How does the development respond to its surroundings?
  1. Connections:
  • How well is the new neighbourhood / site connected?
  1. Inclusivity:
  • How easily can people use and access the development?
  1. Variety:
  • How does the development promote a good mix of activities?
  1. Efficiency:
  • How does the development make appropriate use of resources, including land?
  1. Distinctiveness:
  • How do the proposals create a sense of place?
  1. Layout:
  • How does the proposal create people-friendly streets and spaces?
  1. Public realm:
  • How safe, secure and enjoyable are the public areas?
  1. Adaptability:
  • How will the buildings cope with change?
  1. Privacy / amenity:
  • How do the buildings provide a high-quality amenity?
  1. Parking:
  • How will the parking be secure and attractive?
  1. Detailed design:
  • How well thought through is the building and landscape design?

Development Management Requirements:

  • To ensure that all new housing developments and developments for renewal which includes housing, includes a mix of housing types to maximise the range of housing options in each new development and to prevent the proliferation of limited option house types in any particular area.
  • To seek that all new private residential developments on zoned lands in excess of 20 residential units provide for a minimum of 10% units that can be converted to Universal Design standards in accordance with the requirements of the ‘Building for Everyone: A Universal Design’ developed by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (National Disability Authority).

Further details of the standards and requirements for residential developments are set out in Volume 1, Chapter 13 Requirements for Development. 

​​​​​​​6.3.2 Housing Protection Areas

A number of Housing Protection Areas in the central city area were identified in the last plan, within which any change of use from residential units would be strictly resisted.  To ensure a vibrant city centre, it is essential to maintain and facilitate an increase in its residential population.  Therefore these housing protection areas will be maintained, and are illustrated in Figure PM2.  The Council will resist the change of use of residential units in the designated ‘Housing Protection Areas’. 

6.4 Infill Development

In considering proposals for infill development within the City, the Council will also have regard to the Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (Cities, Towns and Villages) Guidelines.

“Infill” residential development may range from small gap infill, unused or derelict land and “backland” areas, up to larger residual sites or sites assembled from a multiplicity of ownerships. Sub-division of sites can be achieved where large houses on relatively extensive sites can accommodate new residential development without unduly impacting the existing residential amenity. “Backlands” development generally refers to lands to the rear of existing dwellings which may, with the appropriate coordinated access and service interventions, give rise to opportunities for new development. New developments, particularly in established built up areas can only be developed with the appropriate consideration of existing neighbouring amenity.

Availing of development opportunities for infill sites will need to be sensitive to the potential of them imposing on existing neighbouring structures in terms of encroachment, overlooking and overshadowing. The potential for the development of such sites, which includes backland locations, should be considered on a site by site basis and will only be acceptable where the developer can show that the development is able to comply with certain minimum requirements.

In order to advance this process in Kilkenny City a study of the opportunities that exist with accompanying guidance will be carried out.

It is Council policy to facilitate infill development where minimum requirements can be met and where the proposed development will not materially impact the residential amenity or character of neighbouring developments.


C6E      To compile an analysis and a development guidance criterion with recommended interventions for housing opportunities in Kilkenny City’s backland areas, underutilised lands and brownfield sites.

6.5 Active Land Management

6.5.1 Vacant Sites

The Council engages in active land management in order to incentivise the development of vacant or idle sites identified as “regeneration land” or “residential land”, with a view to bringing such sites into beneficial use.  This ensures the maximising the impact of public funds and expenditure on infrastructure. 

Volume 1, Section 6.6 Vacant Site Levy sets out the position as a whole for the City and County.

The Vacant Site Levy can be imposed by planning authorities under certain conditions in designated areas where sites remain vacant and site owners/ developers fail to bring forward reasonable proposals, without good reason, for the development/reuse of such property in line with the provisions of the relevant local area or development plan.

In the case of regeneration land the owner must at a minimum bring forward proposals to ensure the land is not having a negative impact on the character of the area.

The Council will continue to examine lands within the City and County, as appropriate as part of its active land management strategy for the purposes as set out in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, in relation to the Vacant Site Levy.  The Vacant Sites Register is maintained and reviewed on an annual basis.


C6F         To promote the redevelopment and renewal of areas identified having regard to the core strategy, that need regeneration, in order to prevent:

  1. adverse effects on existing amenities in such areas, in particular as a result of the ruinous or neglected condition of any land,
  2. urban blight and decay
  3. anti-social behaviour, or
  4. a shortage of habitable houses or of land suitable for residential use or a mixture of residential and other uses. 

The levy may be applied to all identified ‘Regeneration’ land and ‘Residential’ land in existing land use zonings.  Land in the residential category must be served by the public infrastructure and facilities to enable housing to be provided and serviced.  In particular, the areas covered by the following zoning objectives are considered to constitute regeneration land:

  • General Business
  • Mixed Use
  • Business, Industry and Technology Parks/Business Park
  • Community Facilities

Other regeneration zonings may be identified in relevant Local Area Plans.

C6G    To identify vacant sites where appropriate zoning applies and maintain and update a Vacant Sites Register in the plan area for the purpose of the Vacant Site Levy.

​​​​​​​6.5.2 Derelict Sites

Derelict sites are controlled under the Derelict Sites Act 1990.  A “derelict site” means any land which detracts, or is likely to detract, to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood of the land in question because of;

  1. the existence on the land in question of structures which are in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition, or
  2. the neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition of the land or any structures on the land in question, or
  3. the presence, deposit or collection on the land in question of any litter, rubbish, debris or waste, except where the presence, deposit or collection of such litter, rubbish, debris or waste results from the exercise of a right conferred by statute or by common law.

The Council will continue to use its powers under the Derelict Sites Acts to ensure that sites in urban and rural locations which are deemed derelict are investigated and remedied subject to available resources.

The Council will continue to encourage the return of existing housing stock and its refurbishment through the continued work of the Vacant Homes unit.

​​​​​​​6.6 Education & Childcare

6.6.1 Childcare Facilities

The provision of childcare and early education facilities is recognised as a strategic piece of social infrastructure required to enhance children’s early learning experiences and enable people to participate more fully in society, particularly in accessing employment, education and social networks.  National policy on childcare facilities is set out in Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities[13].  Government planning policy on childcare is to improve the quality of childcare services for the community.  The primary role of the Planning Authority is to facilitate childcare facilities in appropriate locations to high development standards.  The Guidelines identify appropriate locations for childcare facilities including in the vicinity of concentrations of work places, of schools, of neighbourhood, district and town centres and adjacent to public transport corridors, park-and-ride facilities, pedestrian routes and dedicated cycle ways.

Kilkenny Council has worked with the Kilkenny County Childcare Committee, to improve the quality, provision and affordability of childcare in the city and county, and will continue to work with the County Childcare Committee in responding to the changing needs of society in terms of childcare demand and services. 

The Planning Authority will ensure that any new facilities are suitably located, are of a high quality and are inclusive of all children, including children with disabilities.  Developers are encouraged to liaise with the County Childcare Committee in advance of preparing planning applications in order to ascertain the local requirements.  In so far as possible, the provision of childcare and early childhood education facilities should be adjacent to, or co-located with, other facilities required for other community use.

The Council will facilitate the provision of childcare and early childhood education facilities in a sustainable manner in appropriate locations which include the following: larger new housing estates, industrial estates and business parks, in the vicinity of schools, neighbourhood and district centres and adjacent to public transport facilities. 

The Council will assess, in conjunction with the Kilkenny County Childcare Committee and the Local Community Development Committee, the continuing needs around childcare and related facilities and review progress on the provision of same during the period of this Plan.

Childcare Development Management Requirements:

The Council will implement the Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities.  Where a large housing development is proposed, i.e. seventy-five houses or more the planning authority will require the provision of a purpose-built unit for childcare on the site which shall have regard to the existing level of childcare provision in the area.  The Council will operate this requirement in a flexible manner.

In general, childcare facilities will be assessed on the following:

  • The suitability of the site/premises for the type and size of facility proposed, taking into consideration the effects on the existing amenities of the area. 
  • Adequacy of vehicular and pedestrian access and parking provisions, which may be required to include satisfactory and safe collection/drop-off areas where appropriate, for both customers and staff where it is merited by the scale of the development and the resultant intensity of vehicular movements. 
  • Provision of an adequate outdoor play area within the curtilage of all full day care facilities.  This outdoor play area shall be located to have minimum impact on the amenity of surrounding properties, particularly in residential areas and should also be separate from car parking and service areas. 
  • The design of the structure and capability of it being assimilated satisfactorily in to the built environment.
  • Ease of accessibility for all.

Applications for crèches, playschools and pre-school facilities shall comply with the Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities, Child Care (Pre-School Services)(No. 2) Regulations 2006 and the Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No2) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 and We Like This Place - Guidelines for Best Practice in the Design of Childcare Facilities (2005) (or any such other relevant standards and legislation that may be enacted) and shall be accompanied with information in relation to details of the proposed opening times, proposed number and age range of children, proposed number of staff, internal floor areas devoted to crèche, excluding areas such as kitchens, toilets, sleeping and other ancillary areas, details of external play areas and car parking arrangements for both parents and staff. 

​​​​​​​6.6.2 Primary & Post-Primary Schools

Census 2016 results show that the City’s level the population increased by 2,089 or 8.52% from 2011 to 26,512.  This Plan provides for a population increase of 3,641 to 30,153 in 2027. The 2016 Census recorded that the age cohort in the city of 5-17 increased by 381 persons (9.5%) during this intercensal period. 

At present there are two new secondary schools planned for the Breagagh Valley Neighbourhood for which land has been reserved. These are currently at design stage. A site for a new primary school site has also been identified for the Breagagh Valley and lands reserved accordingly.

A school site has been identified in the Loughmacask area for the relocation of the CBS secondary school from its current location in James Street.

In addition to these new sites redevelopments are also planned for the St. Canice’s primary school on the Granges Road and the Presentation Secondary School in Loughboy within their existing sites.

The Council will continue to liaise with the Department of Education and Skills, and all providers of education, to assist in the development of adequate education centres, and to identify and facilitate the provision of suitable sites for new educational facilities as the need arises throughout the City.


C6H        To secure the development of two ETB secondary schools in the Breagagh Valley neighbourhood in Kilkenny City during the lifetime of the plan.

C6I          To secure the development of a new primary school in the Breagagh Valley neighbourhood in Kilkenny City during the lifetime of the plan.

C6J         To secure the relocation of the CBS secondary school from James Street to a new  site in the Loughmacask masterplan area.

6.6.3 Third and fourth Level Education

The case for a third/fourth level education facility as part of the new Technical University for the South East covered in Volume 1 Section 5.2.10 Third Level Educational Facilities.

Kilkenny County Council has proactively supported the case for the establishment of a multi-campus

Technological University of the South East (TUSE). This is an objective of the Local Economic & Community Plan (LECP) (as per action 4.6), and has been prioritised by the Council’s Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) for Economic Development, Tourism and Enterprise Supports.  This has also been supported through appropriate objectives in previous development plans.

A joint venture between Kilkenny County Council, Waterford Institute of Technology (Telecommunications Software & Systems Group or TSSG) was successfully established on St Kieran’s College campus previously which is a 3rd/4th level Research and Innovation unit. The centre focuses on next generation internet services and service innovation.

The Centre for Design (C4D) is funded under the Enterprise Ireland Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), C4D is a design innovation hub that helps companies to conceptualise, innovate, build and test new products and services through critical problem-solving methodologies and design thinking concepts.

The Precision Agriculture Centre of Excellence (PACE), was established in Kilkenny City through Waterford Institute of Technology with assistance from Kilkenny County Council. It is a new digital innovation hub in Kilkenny which will drive digital transformation of Europe’s agri-food sector.

There is a convincing educational, social and economic case for locating tertiary/higher education and training provision in Kilkenny[14].  The proposal for a third level campus in Kilkenny aligns well with regional policy, especially as regards providing counterweights to Dublin, based on making the South-East region more attractive than it currently is. Leveraging the advantages of smart specialisation, which is based on maximising regional expertise for national and global competitiveness, would be essential.  The proposal also aligns with government policy across education.


C6K     To secure the development of a third and/or fourth level campus(es) within Kilkenny city as part of the development of a Technological University for the South East.

​​​​​​​6.7 Health and well-being

Planning has an important role to play in promoting and facilitating active and healthy living patterns for local communities and in promoting well-being.  A range of measures are included in this Plan to promote active and healthier lifestyles including:

  • Pedestrians, cyclists and users of other modes of transport that involve physical activity are given the highest priority (See Volume 1 Chapter 12);
  • Public open spaces are located and delivered in a way that ensures they are capable of being easily reached on foot or bicycle by routes that are secure and of a high standard and that take biodiversity issues into account in their design (See Volume 1 Chapter 8);
  • Any new workplaces are linked to walking and cycling networks (See Volume 1 Chapter 12); and
  • Play areas are designed to encourage varied and physically active play (See Volume 1 Chapter 13)

Healthcare and medical facilities are provided by a range of public, private and voluntary agencies within Kilkenny City and County.  The Health Service Executive is the primary organisation responsible for the delivery of health care and personal social services to the people of Kilkenny.  With the scale of increase in population, and the recent Covid-19 pandemic, it is to be expected that there will be a demand for more healthcare and medical facilities within the city and county to cater for the resident population.

The primary role of the Planning Authority with regard to health care is to ensure that there is an adequate policy framework in place inclusive of the reservation of lands should additional services be required. Future provision should be planned and implemented in concert with residential development, especially where this is undertaken in the context of Local Area Plans. The Planning Authority will reserve sites within appropriate settlements for health care facilities in consultation with the HSE.

The Sláinte Care Implementation Strategy[15]  presents a ten-year vision to transform Ireland’s health and social care services. The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy is the framework for a system-wide reform programme. It sets out the direction for the next ten years and actions to be taken in the first three years of the Sláintecare implementation process. The focus is on establishing the building blocks for a significant shift in the way in which health and social care services are delivered in Ireland.

Healthcare facilities may include health centres, day centres, community nursing units, family resource centres, nursing homes/convalescent homes, community residences, sheltered workshops, activation centres and residential facilities for children and adolescents. These facilities require locations which are integrated with new and existing communities and which are easily accessible.

There is an existing primary health care centre on the Granges Road in Kilkenny city.  The construction of a Primary Care unit at Newpark is underway.

​​​​​​​6.7.1 Hospitals

St. Luke’s General Hospital and Lourdes Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilcreene are the two public hospitals located in the city and serving the county and wider catchment.  St. Luke’s General Hospital recently completed improvement works to include a new emergency department, a new medical assessment unit and a new day‐services ward.

In addition to these facilities, private operators provide healthcare facilities at Aut Even Private hospital on the Freshford Road.

St. Canice’s campus and its grounds comprise a significant land bank within the city.  At present it contains the offices of the Health Service Executive, Lacken pitch and putt club, and the original hospital and associated outbuildings.  The site presents an opportunity for regeneration but within the context of an overall planning framework for the lands.  See Section St. Canice’s.    

The Council will facilitate the development and expansion of health and medical care facilities to meet the needs of the city and County, subject to normal planning and environmental criteria and the Development Management Requirements.

​​​​​​​6.7.2 Positive Ageing

According to the Department of Health, by the year 2036 the number of older people aged 65 and older living in Ireland is expected to increase by 250%.  For County Kilkenny this would mean that the older population of 11,690 in 2011 will increase to 29,225 in 20 years’ time.  Kilkenny County Council has been actively engaged in the Age Friendly County Initiative since 2010.  Kilkenny was the second County in Ireland to become an Age Friendly County.  The concept of an Age Friendly Community is linked to an initiative of the World Health Organisation started in 2007.  The Age-Friendly County initiative seeks to engage older people and their communities in making their communities better, healthier and safer places for older people to live and thrive.  Positive ageing can be facilitated by means of various age friendly initiatives, including universal design and can be supported by the adoption of the appropriate development objectives. (See Objective under Universal Design above, and see Volume 1, Section 12.13 Age Friendly and Accessible parking.) The delivery of such facilities has a symbiotic relationship with other segments of society as it promotes accessibility for all.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny implemented a programme of measures to enable older patients and visitors to enjoy an improved hospital experience during the period of the last Plan, and it is now designated as an Age-Friendly Hospital.  An Age Friendly Hospital is one in which older people are actively involved in the design of an environment that is friendly and accessible to all. 

During the course of the 2014 -2020 Development Plan the concept of positive ageing was brought to the level of the Age Friendly Town.

​​​​​​​ Age Friendly City

The Council will support the actions set out in Kilkenny Age Friendly County Strategy 2017 – 2022 regarding the implementation of Age Friendly principles in the planning, design and delivery of physical infrastructure, public realm works, business and commercial premises as resources permit.

6.8 Open Space and Recreation

Open space performs a wide range of functions relating to amenity, biodiversity, education, social and community benefits, and health benefits. Public open space is a key element in defining the overall quality of the residential environment. As well as providing passive and active recreational benefits for residents, open space enhances the aesthetic and environmental quality of a neighbourhood or town and promotes social interaction. 

The provision of appropriately designed open space is a key element in defining the quality of the residential environment and therefore the quality of Place.

The Council, with the assistance of relevant agencies and sporting organisations in Kilkenny, will seek to:

  • preserve and improve amenities and recreational facilities, and shall facilitate and provide for the extension of recreational amenities where appropriate, subject to environmental, heritage and financial considerations.
  • Increase levels of local participation, improve access and promote the development of opportunities for the benefit of all groups of the population to become involved in sports and recreation, in conjunction with Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership (www.krsp.ie.). 
6.8.1 Hierarchy of Open Space in Kilkenny City

Recreational space is provided in parks of various sizes throughout the City ranging from regional parks and major local parks down to smaller pocket parks, private gardens and balconies, as well as intensive recreational, amenity and community facilities such as active Multiple Games Areas (MUGAs).  This Plan aims to achieve a hierarchy of high quality, attractive and secure public and private open spaces.

​​​​​​​ Castle Park

The Castle Park is located in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and is about 50 acres in extent.  It contains a playground and is extensively used for walking, running and passive amenity.  It is a significant piece of green infrastructure within the City and environs.  It is in State ownership and is operated by the Office of Public Works. It has a regional appeal.

​​​​​​​ River Nore Linear Park

The Nore Linear Park provides a network of footpaths and cycleways along the river in the City combined with a sequence of high-quality public spaces, which is a significant recreational and biodiversity asset to the city.  Within the City, a walk between Talbotsinch and Ossory Bridge has been developed and upgraded to make it accessible to all users, including cyclists, people with disabilities and people using buggies.  Two pedestrian bridges provide access across the river: the Ossory Pedestrian Bridge under the Ossory Road Bridge to the west of the City, and The Lady Desart Bridge along Bateman Quay in the city centre. 

That part of the Nore Linear Park that runs through the Abbey Quarter is being developed at present, known as the Riverside Park. There is further potential to extend the linear park on both sides of the River Nore for a complete loop within the City. This will require further pedestrian and cycle connections between both banks of the river and extension of public access in particular on the eastern bank.  Additional crossings at Greensbridge, Talbots Inch and south of John’s bridge would be required in order to maximise connectivity (See Section Proposed River Crossings).  The Nore Linear Park also connects with countryside riverside trails to the south, and this is the starting point of the Nore Valley Walk (See Volume 1 Section 8.3 Trails, Walkways).

The River Nore is the principal river flowing through Kilkenny City, and together with the River Breagagh and River Pococke, offer significant opportunities for recreational opportunities both water and landside, including an interconnecting network of routes for walking and cycling which also provide access for water-sports such as swimming, angling, boating, kayaking and nature trails amongst others. Pedestrian and cycle routes along the river have the potential to connect to other walking and cycling routes.  

The setting of Kilkenny city in the Nore River Valley provides an opportunity for establishing open spaces and networks of open spaces of strategic value and importance within the city.  During the formulation of the Kilkenny Heritage Plan, the River Nore was identified as one of the county’s most important heritage resources.  The river encompasses built, natural and cultural heritage; is strongly identified with, and has had a very significant influence on, the life and development of the City.

The River Nore and Pococke River form part of the Natura 2000 network (see Vol 1 Section European Sites (Natura 2000)).

​​​​​​​ The Breagagh and Pococke River Corridors

The Breagagh River corridor, from the Water Barrack (westwards and southwards) is designated open space for most of its course and has the potential to be developed as a regional open space providing links from the Western Environs to the City.

Sections of the Pococke River to the east of the city centre are designated open space. There is potential to link the Pococke open space areas back to the existing residential developments and the River Nore walking route/River Nore Linear Park.

The Council will seek to establish public parks along the Pococke and Breagagh Rivers subject to resources and finances. 

As part of the infrastructural works being carried out in the Breagagh Valley area at present a section of the Breagagh Valley park will be provided as part of that road scheme adjacent to the Circular road.

The Council will promote the natural amenity potential of the River Nore, River Breagagh and Pococke River in order to facilitate the development of amenity, recreational, biodiversity and tourism benefits for the city, and will work with agencies and communities to improve access and facilities along the rivers in appropriate locations subject to the availability of resources.  


C6L         To progress plans for the provision of a pedestrian bridge crossings at the northern side of Greens Bridge (upstream) proximate to Talbotsinch and between John’s Bridge and Ossory Bridge.

C6M       To develop access along the eastern bank of the river up from Greensbridge, to the proposed bio-diversity park at Dunmore (See Vol. 1 8.2.1 Regional Parks) as part of the River Nore Linear Park as opportunities arise and resources permit

C6N        To construct a Boardwalk at Greensbridge to link the River Nore Riverside Walk at Riverside Drive with the new Riverside Linear Park in the Abbey Quarter and onwards to the Canal Walk.

C6O        To undertake a feasibility study to determine the optimal location for, and to develop, a water sports hub on the River Nore.

C6P        To complete the development of the linear park along the River Nore in the area of the Abbey Quarter.

C6Q        To develop a pedestrian/cycle crossing at Greensbridge connecting the east and west banks of the River Nore.

​​​​​​​6.8.2 Neighbourhood Parks

These parks provide facilities for both formal and informal recreation in a parkland environment.  In the City, neighbourhood parks were provided at Loughboy and Newpark as part of the development of these neighbourhoods. In the Breagagh Valley and Loughmacask neighbourhoods, the provision of recreational facilities will be a requirement of their phased development. Provision has been made in both of these areas for open space networks, neighbourhood parks and smaller pocket parks as part of the Local Area Plans previously prepared in 2004 and 2008.

​​​​​​​6.8.3 Local Parks

There is a series of open spaces throughout the built-up areas of Kilkenny city, which provide a range of informal, passive and active recreational spaces.  Some are located within housing developments or some are small pocket parks within the wider public realm.  One such space is the Glendine Amenity Area.  An amenity scheme, to include drainage proposals, will be prepared for this area during the lifetime of this Plan. 


C6R        To prepare and implement an amenity scheme for the Glendine Amenity area, to include drainage proposals. 

C6S        To prepare and implement an Amenity Masterplan for the Pococke amenity area beside the Pococke Valley Estate on the Johnswell road.

​​​​​​​6.8.4 Protection of Open Space

The Council will not normally permit development which is not compatible with or would result in the loss of green infrastructure or land zoned for recreational or open space purposes.  An exception may be considered where one or more of the following requirements are demonstrably met:

  • The proposed development can clearly demonstrate that it can contribute to the making of quality space and will enhance and benefit place making in the area.
  • There is a clear excess of playing fields or open space provision within the area. This should consider the long‐term needs of the community, the type, recreational, amenity value and accessibility of such provision.
  •  Alternative compensatory provision is made which is both accessible to and of equal or greater quality and benefit to the community served by the existing open space.
  • The continued use, proper maintenance and enhancement of the amenity/facility can best be achieved by the redevelopment of a portion of the site that will not adversely affect its overall sporting, recreational, amenity or place making value of the facility.
  • The site is indicated for an alternative use in this Development Plan.
​​​​​​​6.8.5 Trails, Walkways and Linear Parks

There are a number of walking routes available in Kilkenny, through publicly owned and private lands – including long distance and looped walks and hiking routes. The Nore Valley walk currently has a section from Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge.

Slí na Sláinte is an innovative scheme developed by the Irish Heart Foundation, supported by the HSE to encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk for leisure and good health.

It is Council policy to continue to assist with and support the development of the Nore Valley Walk and protect its route from encroachment by unsympathetic development.

​​​​​​​6.8.6 Recreation and Sporting Facilities

There are significant built recreation and sporting facilities provided throughout the City through a mix of public, private clubs, schools, community facilities and voluntary organisations.  Hurling and equestrian pursuits are of considerable importance to the county.  Outdoor facilities include playing pitches, golf courses, pitch and putt courses, and athletic running tracks.  Some of these facilities also combine other uses – such as the walking tracks developed around playing pitches and some facilities also combine locations with indoor facilities including swimming pools, gyms and community and sports halls catering for indoor sports – such as at the Watershed in Kilkenny City.

The Council will co-operate with local development organisations, community groups, sporting organisations and other stakeholders in the development of active recreational facilities throughout the City and to enter into joint venture arrangements where appropriate for the provision of such facilities.

​​​​​​​6.8.7 Skate Park

A skate park is being developed in the Abbey Quarter, Kilkenny City as part of the Riverside Park. The skatepark is current under construction.


C6T         To complete the skate park as part of the Riverside Park at the Abbey Quarter.

6.8.8 Play Policy

The Kilkenny Interagency Play Forum Play Plan 2007 to 2012[16] was developed based on the National Play Policy Ready, Steady, Play! A National Play Policy[17].  The policy advocates a child-centred approach to the development of play facilities.  The Council will seek to maintain the quality and safety of playgrounds and play areas and create a child-friendly and safe environment where the importance of play is recognised for a child’s development. 

A number of playgrounds have been developed in various locations throughout the city as follows:

Kilkenny City (7):

Castle Park, Assumption Place, Fr. McGrath Centre, Garringreen, Newpark Close, Talbot’s Court and Rose Hill.



Development Management Requirements:

The Council will require provision for children’s play or development contributions towards providing children’s play facilities in association with new residential developments.  Within new residential developments where there is a significant family residential component the whole environment should be designed so as to permit children to play in safety.

​​​​​​​6.8.9 Public Rights of Way

A public right of way is a person’s right of passage along a road or path, even if the road or path is not in public ownership.  They can be created by use from time immemorial, by statute or by dedication by the full owner of the land.  The Council recognises the legal rights of all landowners and that rights of access to their lands may only be obtained with their permission where an existing right of way does not exist.  A list of existing known rights of way in the county are included as on Appendix C to this plan and are shown on Volume 1, Figure 8.1.  Known existing rights of way at the time of writing this Plan are listed, however this is not a comprehensive list, and further work will be carried out during the life of this plan to provide a more extensive listing.

The Council recognises the importance of maintaining established rights of way and supports initiatives for establishing new walking routes and enhanced accessibility.  The Council will use its powers under the Planning Acts to preserve, protect, maintain and enhance existing rights of way, to determine where public rights exist and where public rights of way should be created, and to promote their greater use in amenity areas – including access points to the River Nore and other amenity areas of the City (See Volume 1 Section 8.6).

​​​​​​​6.8.10 Allotments

An emerging new form of land use has been the development of allotments.  Allotment gardens allow a number of people to cultivate their own vegetables in individual plots/land parcels on lands owned by another private individual or body.  The individual plot/parcel can vary in size and often the plots include a shed for tools and shelter.  Allotments can have a number of benefits including the promotion of healthy lifestyles, biodiversity and providing a cheaper, local and sustainable source of food. The Council will support and facilitate the development of allotments within the City.

6.8.11 Recreation/Open Space in new residential development

Applicants will be required to make provision for sports and recreational infrastructure commensurate with the needs generated by any development and the capacity of existing facilities in the area to cater for existing and future needs.  For details of the requirements for the provision of open space within residential developments refer to Volume 1 Section 13.20.

[1] Government of Ireland, National Planning Framework, 2018, page 54

[2] Kilkenny City Centre Local Area Plan 2005

[3] Kilkenny County Council, Urban Design Framework Masterplan for Abbey Creative Quarter, Kilkenny, 2015

[4] Kilkenny County Council, Abbey Quarter Urban Design Code, 2018

[5] Enterprise 2025 Renewed Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation March 2018 page vii

[6] Housing Section, April 2020.

[7] National Disability Authority, Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach, 2012

[10] Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Urban Design Manual: A best practice guide, 2009

[11] Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (Cities, Towns & Villages), 2009

[12] Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Urban Design Manual: A best practice guide, 2009

[13] Department of Environment and Local Government, Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 2001.

[14] From Charter to Framework: The Case for Higher Education Provision in Kilkenny April 2018.

[15] Government of Ireland, SláinteCare Implementation Strategy https://assets.gov.ie/9914/3b6c2faf7ba34bb1a0e854cfa3f9b5ea.pdf

[17] Department of Children & Youth Affairs, Ready, Steady, Play! A National Play Policy


Clár ábhair


Recreation and Outdoor Space
Refer attached letter
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