/ Archive by category 'Community Development'
Following the decision by An Bord Pleanala to refuse planning for a major retail development at the former Mart site in Kilkenny City, Mayor Malcolm Noonan is calling on Kilkenny County Council to abandon plans for a redesigned bridge as part of the Central Access Scheme. He contends that the re design of the bridge and Environmental Impact Statement now represents an undue financial burden on the local authority and may never be constructed in light of the refusal of the citymart development.
‘I would largely agree with An Bord Pleanala’s decision, this is an edge of town site and a retail development on this scale could have potentially damaged the core retail area and city centre. While the short term construction jobs would have been most welcome, it is unlikely in the current climate that all of the development would have proceeded and I would now hope that that the project proposers will go back to the drawing board with a scaled down plan for the site that is more in keeping with the future needs of the city’ he said. He also said that the project failed to adequately address new planning and retail guidelines on edge of town and out of town retail developments and the damage they can do to town centres.
Mayor Noonan also stated that the Central Access Scheme (CAS) is so compromised now that it should be scrapped in favour of the completion of the outer ring road and the implementation of a public transport scheme and other mobility measures to service future needs of the city including the mart site. ‘The redesign of the bridge cannot be justified on cost grounds while our water infrastructure requires so much investment and our library services are chronically under funded. The CAS has already cost us signifiacnt financial and time resources and we the elected members have not been furnished with a costing for the re design of the bridge crossing’ he said.
He said that the decision to refuse the current proposal for the mart site should be viewed as an opportunity to look at the entire scheme, road infrastructure, connectivity and consolidating the city centre. ‘Kilkenny has been relatively fortunate, we didn’t over do out of town retail like other towns in the region. Many places like Clonmel and Carlow are suffering because of an over proliferation of retail on the edge of their towns. Kilkenny has a fantastic opportunity to get it right. I would hope that an imaginative re designed plan for the citymart site with a good mix of social and commercial infrastructure will protect our beautiful city while creating much needed employment’ he concluded.
Posted by on Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 2:09 am
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The need for dedicated grounds for Kilkenny’s fastest growing sport has been put to Kilkenny Co Council’s parks staff by Mayor Malcolm Noonan. Cricket is becoming increasingly popular among people of all ages in Kilkenny and was once played widely throughout the county. Mayor Noonan feels that Kilkenny needs a cricket ground where the City Cricket Club of Kilkenny can call home and invite visiting teams to play.
At present the club have been using the CBS primary school playing fields. Recent signings to the club have come from Kilkenny, Tyrone and Lancashire and have other nationalities such as the Bangladeshi community.
‘With the success of the national team and the tradition of the game in County Kilkenny I think the time is right for cricket to have a home here in the city. It’s a relatively inexpensive sport for young people to get involved in and a grounds would not represent a significant cost to the Council if an appropriate site can be found’ said Mayor Noonan.
Mayor Noonan has asked the Parks Section of Kilkenny County Council and the Kilkenny Electoral Area Committee to identify a suitable site for a grounds.
‘This is a simple, healthy sport for all ages and I would be hopeful that we can find a home for Kilkenny cricket in the city’ he concluded.
Kilkenny Local Authorities could divert funding earmarked for the Central Access Scheme into many civic and cultural projects if the road is refused by An Bord Pleanala in coming weeks. This is the view of Borough and County Councillor Malcolm Noonan. Projects such as an Arts Centre, the restoration of St Mary’s Church and graveyard, a city museum, the upgrade of High St and the park and skate park facility at the Closh could be prioritised if the city spur of the road and bridge crossing is refused.
‘Given the fact that the bulk of the 27m needed for the scheme will have to be drawn from local funding, the ability of the local authorities to fund anything else while the road and bridge are being constructed will be greatly undermined. This funding was also predicated on an economic growth rate of 4.2% at the time it was put forward to An Bord Pleanala and this has clearly not materialised’ said Cllr Noonan.
Cllr Noonan pointed out that the Council is now moving in the right direction with the Mobility Plan for the city and that international best practice was now directing authorities away from excessive engineering projects to address urban mobility. Freeing up of available and future development contributions monies towards civic and cultural projects could redirect the whole dynamic of the city and place Kilkenny among the leading destinations in Ireland, if not Europe.
‘The obvious answer is the linking of the western environs section of the road with a completed outer ring road, our focus should be on consolidating the unique character of Kilkenny for present and future generations and enhancing our tourism potential, which is by far our biggest employer. This can only be done by continually striving to be better and more ambitious in our vision’ he said.
Cllr Noonan is the only sitting member of Kilkenny Local Authorities to have opposed the Central Access Scheme and has been campaigning against it for twelve years. A decision by An Bord Pleanala is due shortly.
Posted by on Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 7:57 pm
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By now the fruit tree project has well and truly started. We began planting in with Sean O hArgain, Muniteoiri agus na Paisti. It was such a great day and our little orchard will hopefully mature over coming years. On Thursday 5th of March, I planted six trees with sixth class and my son Colm who is in Junior infants at St Canice’s National School. Then it was on to the Castle Park on Friday for the main event. What a great turnout and we had a film crew from Glass Eye Productions in Thomastown. I hope to have footage of this up on this site when the edit is complete.
Finally I went to the Model School on the Comer Rd and prepared the planting holes for the parents who were coming in on the Saturday. I had to be in Wexford at our Party Conference on that day so I haven’t gone back to see how they got on yet.
All in all it has been a really inspiring project, one that I hope will leave a lasting mark on the 400 celebrations. Here’s the press release I put out that week, we will be back in Autumn to complete the planting.
Celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the signing of the City Charter will take place this week in schools around the city and will culminate in the planting of an orchard in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. The 400 fruit tree project will see the planting of orchards around the city to leave a lasting legacy of the 400 celebrations.
Speaking on the significance of the event, steering committee member, Cllr Malcolm Noonan stated that it was particularly poignant given that the theme of this years National Tree Week is ‘Our Trees, Our Culture’. ‘Kilkenny City and County is steeped in a tradition of growing and self reliance and this project seeks to reconnect communities with growing our own food, while enhancing wildlife in our urban areas’.
Three primary schools will take part in the first phase of the project, Gaelscoil Osraí, St Canice’s National School and The Model School and will plant small orchards of old native varieties of fruit trees including one native to County Kilkenny. On Friday March 6th, a group of twenty trees will be planted on the grounds of Kilkenny Castle formally marking the start of the project.
Elaine Bradshaw of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful is hopeful that the project will enhance Kilkenny’s chances in this year’s tidy towns, particularly under the wildlife and biodiversity categories.
It is hoped that the project will be completed in late autumn 2009 and the committee will be announcing a sponsor an orchard scheme to raise further funds to complete the planting. They are also hoping to identify more suitable sites throughout the City that are secure and will be well maintained.
Speaking at the adoption of the Traveller Accommodation Programme at the January Meeting of Kilkenny County Council, Councillor Malcolm Noonan commended Council staff and other agencies such as KCAN working on Traveller Development issues on progress over the life of the previous plan but stated that there remains significant challenges in bringing about acceptable living standards for traveller families in some areas of the City and County.
He stated that while good progress has been made in the accommodation programme in Hebron, the same could not be said for the Wetlands Halting Site. He also called on Kilkenny Local Authorities to take on board the recommendations from the submission of the Irish Traveller Movement (ITM) in relation to the Wetlands site and observed that the retaining wall surrounding the site should be dismantled, questioning its legality in terms of planning guidelines for traveller accommodation.
‘While welcoming the adoption of measures in the plan to address the upgrade and refurbishment of traveller accommodation in Kilkenny, I would also ask that the transient culture that still prevails in some traveller families, be respected and accommodated where possible. Much work also needs to be done in terms of developing capacity within the traveller community and addressing issues of poverty and educational disadvantage. I am disappointed that the traveller horse project failed to materialise in the county. Organisations such as KCAN have done groundbreaking work with traveller women and I think that we as local authorities should support such initiatives’ he stated.
The Traveller Accommodation Programme covers a period from 2009 to 2014 and was prepared with consultation from the Local Traveller Consultative Committee and the Housing Strategic Policy Committee of Kilkenny County Council