City 11. Requirements for Development

11    Requirements for Developments

Strategic Aim: To encourage the creation of living and working environments of the highest quality by ensuring a high quality of design, layout and function for all development under the Planning Acts and Regulations, to conserve and build upon positive elements in the built and natural environment, and to protect amenities.

11.1  Introduction

The purpose of this section of the Plan is to encourage the creation of living and working environments of the highest quality by ensuring a high standard of design, layout and function for all development under the Planning & Development Acts and Regulations, to conserve and build upon positive elements in the built and natural environment and to protect amenities.


Development Management will be exercised by the Councils in a positive manner, having regard to the provisions of the Planning and Development Acts, and to the proper planning and sustainable development of the City & Environs, its amenities and the Councils’ policies and objectives.


It is intended that reference to these standards will provide guidance and assistance to those who seek permission for development.  However, it should not be assumed that compliance with the standards contained herein will automatically or necessarily result in a granting of planning permission, since the standards are merely a statement of general principles.  Decisions regarding individual applications for development rest with the relevant planning authority and will be determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with circumstances at the time an application is submitted.  Developers are advised to consult with the Planning Authority prior to the preparation of detailed plans.


There may be instances where a conflict will arise between various policy objectives, and in such cases all issues will be assessed in the interests of the proper planning and sustainable development of the city and environs.


11.2  Pre-Planning Meetings

The Council provides a pre-planning consultation service which allows applicants the opportunity to engage in discussions with the Planning Authority, prior to making a Planning application. Applicants are encouraged to avail of this service for all development proposals but particularly for large scale projects.  As stipulated in Section 247 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), the carrying out of such consultations shall not prejudice the performance by a Council of any other of its functions under this Act, or any regulations made under this Act, and cannot be relied upon in the formal preplanning process or in legal proceedings. 



11.3  Universal Design

Universal Design is defined in the Disability Act 2005 as  ‘the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability’. 


The Council requires that all future developments used by the public (including public spaces, car parking, footpaths) are accessible to and usable by all regardless of age, size, disability or ability.  The requirements of people with disabilities, the elderly, parents and carers and others who may be temporarily impaired must be incorporated into the design.  It is considered that applications for large-scale projects should be accompanied by an Access Statement (as detailed in Appendix 6 of Buildings for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach, National Disability Authority, 2012).


Guidance on the access requirements for public buildings and for residential dwellings is set out in Part M of the Building Regulations (S.I. No. 179 of 2000) and Part M of the Building Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 513 of 2010) and Buildings for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach (National Disability Authority, 2012), Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas and its companion document, Urban Design Manual: A best practice guide (See also Chapter 4). 


11.4  Urban Design

Sustainable communities have a high quality natural and built environment. They are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment and contribute to a high quality of life.  They are safe and inclusive, well-planned, built and run, offer equality of opportunity and good services for all.


Kilkenny Local Authorities will ensure that all new developments enrich the urban qualities of the city which means encouraging a distinctive response which complements the setting.  A high standard of design is considered essential to this process.  Creating a distinctive sense of place, taking into account site history and setting, is important.


The Councils will aim to create sustainable, high quality environments – attractive, vibrant and safe places which function effectively.  A high standard of architectural design will be required for all significant new developments. 


In new residential areas, it is the sense of place which should have priority.  This is formed by the relationship between buildings and the creation of elegant functional spaces.   The Planning Authority will require a high level of residential amenity conducive to a good quality living environment in new residential developments.


Planning applications for new housing development shall have regard to the provisions of the following Guidelines for Planning Authorities:


New residential developments will be assessed in accordance with the following 12 design criteria for sustainable residential developments. 


The 12 criteria are:  

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


 A site specific Design Statement will be required in the case of large-scale or sensitively located developments.   A design statement is a short document which enables the applicant to explain why a particular design solution is considered the most appropriate for a particular site and it shall demonstrate how design policy and issues of accessibility have been taken into account. 


11.4.1  Density

As in the preceding Development Plan it is not intended to prescribe maximum residential density standards.  The emphasis will be on providing quality-housing environments based on innovation and a design led approach.  A high standard of architectural design and layout will be required.   The Planning Authority will seek to ensure that new developments have individuality and a sense of place, which is generated by the interaction between the physical characteristics and features of the site and its surroundings and the layout, landscaping and design of the new housing.


The appropriate residential density in any particular location will be determined by the following:-

i)             The extent to which the design and layout follows a coherent design brief resulting in a high quality residential environment;

ii)            Compliance with qualitative and quantitative criteria set out (including the 12 design criteria);

ii)            Proximity to points of access to the public transport network;

iv)           The extent to which the site may, due to its size, scale and location, propose its own density and character, having regard to the need to protect the established character and amenities of existing adjoining residential areas;

v)            Existing topographical, landscape or other features on the site, and;

vi)           The capacity of the infrastructure, including social and community facilities, to absorb the demands created by the development. 


The same criteria will be applied to development proposals involving an increase in density on existing housing sites.


11.4.2  Gated Communities

Gated communities serve to exclude and divide communities and in no way support the creation of a permeable, connected and linked city.


The Councils will discourage new housing developments that include gated communities in their plans.


11.4.3  Bin Storage Standards

Each residential unit shall have adequate storage for three wheeled bins.  Residential units with no rear access shall provide adequate storage for the bins to the front of the development, in contained units.  In apartment schemes, bin storage shall generally be on the ground floor level of development, be adequately ventilated, screened from public view and adjacent to the block it serves. Where appropriate, the bin storage area shall be a separate structure to the apartment building.


11.4.4  Separation Distance between Houses

In general, there should be adequate separation (traditionally about 22m between 2-storey dwellings) between opposing first floor windows. However, relaxation of this standard will be considered where the careful positioning of opposing windows can prevent overlooking even with shorter back-to-back distances. Windows serving halls and landings do not require the same degree of privacy as, say, balconies and living rooms.


A minimum of 2.3 metres shall be provided between the side walls of detached, semi-detached and end of terrace dwellings to ensure privacy and ease of access.  A property boundary should ideally occur mid-way along this dimension.


11.4.5  Boundary Treatment of House Sites

Where the flank or rear boundaries of house sites abut roads, pedestrian ways or public open space, suitably designed screen walls 1.8 metres in height shall be provided. Where concrete screen walls are proposed they shall be suitably rendered and capped in an acceptable manner.


11.4.6  Housing Developments and Road Noise


In 2006, the Government made regulations relating to Environmental noise (S.I. 140 of 2006).  Environmental noise is defined in the Regulations as unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise emitted by means of transport, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic, and from sites of industrial activity.   


The Council will require (where necessary) that planning applications for future developments within the zone of influence of existing national roads include noise mitigation measures and/or a sound impact assessment to guard against an unacceptable increase in noise levels affecting noise sensitive properties.  Consideration should be given to the position, direction and height of new buildings, along with their function, their distance from roads etc. Full details of any noise barriers or buffers should be provided (including details of the ongoing maintenance of any barrier or buffer).  Developers should adhere to the Environmental Noise Regulations referred to above.


11.4.7  Naming of Housing Developments

The naming of new residential development should reflect the local and historical context of its siting as far as possible such as local names which reflect the landscape, its features, culture or history of the area in which the development is located.   Also considered will be the names of historical persons associated with the area. The use of Irish names will be encouraged. The naming of residential developments shall be approved by the Planning Authority prior to the launching of any advertising campaign for a development, see Section 7.5.1.


11.5  Apartments

The design and layout of new apartments should provide comfortable accommodation for a variety of household types and sizes – including families with children - over the medium to long term.  Regard should be given to relevant Government Guidelines, including Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments.  All apartment schemes should provide for a mix of units; comprising of one bedroom, two-bedroom and family units. 


A planning application for an apartment scheme shall be accompanied by a detailed schedule of the proposed development including total number of apartments proposed by type, apartment floor area, number of bedrooms, open space area, storage area etc.  Failure to submit this schedule with the planning application may result in delays as a result of a request for further information. 


In general, apartments will be required to have the following minimum floor areas measured internal wall to wall (the required minimum floor areas are 10% larger than those stated Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments).




Table 11.1 Minimum Floor Areas for Apartments

Apartment type

Minimum floor area

One Bed

50 sq.m

Two Bed


Three Bed


Four Bed



The standards apply to units on one floor; duplexes should provide the additional floor area required to provide for stairways and landings in accordance with the Building Regulations (approximately 10 sq. metres).  All living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms should minimise overlooking of adjoining/adjacent residences and should be so located so to avoid facing towards nearby high boundary or gable walls.


11.5.1  Apartments - Private and public open space

Private open space can be provided in the form of rear gardens or patios for ground floor units, and balconies at upper levels.  It is important that in the latter case, adequate semi-private or communal open space, in the form of landscaped areas, should also be provided. Roof gardens offer only limited potential in this regard, due to climatic and safety factors, and should not form the major share of such space. Roof gardens will only be considered provided they are easily accessible, secure and attractively landscaped.    Private open space at ground floor level should receive some sunlight, but also needs some form of screening to ensure privacy.


The following open space requirements apply:


Table 11.2: Open Space Requirements for Apartments

Apartment Type


Minimum private open space

One bedroom                  

10 sq.m

Two/three bedrooms                   

15-20 sq.m

Four bed




Balconies (or glass-screened “winter gardens”) need to be of a certain minimum width to be useful from an amenity viewpoint, being able to accommodate chairs and a small table.   A minimum width of 1.5 metres for one-bedroom units, and 1.8 metres for apartments with 2 or more bedrooms, is recommended, generally extending for the full length of the external living room wall. While wider balconies might be desirable in certain cases, this has to be balanced against the need to avoid overshadowing the living room.


Table 11.3: Minimum Balcony Areas for Apartments

Apartment Type


Minimum Balcony Floor Area

One bedroom                  


Two bedrooms                                


Three bedrooms                             


Four Bedrooms                                



Site conditions, such as elevations facing north or overlooking busy streets, or tall buildings, may diminish the amenity value of balconies. Balconies may not be appropriate in historic areas. In such cases, it will be the designer’s responsibility to provide some form of compensating amenity for the occupants. This might take the form, for instance, of above-average sized living rooms and generous landscaped communal open spaces.


Balustrading to balconies should be safe for children. Vertical privacy screens should generally be provided between adjoining balconies.


11.5.2  Daylight and sunlight

The amount of sunlight reaching an apartment significantly affects the amenity of the occupants.  Dual-aspect apartments are likely to maximise the availability of sunlight, but this solution may not always be possible (e.g. with corner units).  Single-aspect apartments should allow the main living rooms to face south or west; north-facing units should be excluded. Particular care is needed where windows are located on lower floors which may be overshadowed by adjoining buildings.  The orientation of buildings within the site should maximise energy efficiency.


11.5.3  Storage Areas and Communal Facilities

Provision should be made in apartments for general storage areas (additional to minimum kitchen presses, bedroom furniture and hot presses) for bulky items such a child’s buggy, a suitcase, sport equipment etc.  As a rule, no individual storage room within an apartment should exceed 3.5 sq metres.


Table 11.4: Minimum storage space requirements for apartments

Apartment Type


Minimum Storage Space Required

One bedroom                  


Two bedrooms/ 3 persons                          


Three bedrooms /4 persons                      


Four  Bedrooms                               



Lifts should be provided for all apartment blocks of three or more storeys.  There is a need to provide two lifts where the apartment building has more than six storeys and serves more than 60 apartments, where it would be unreasonable to expect people to climb stairs in the event of a lift breakdown.  Lifts should provide access to basement car parks.



11.6  Home-Based Economic Activities

Home-based activities are defined as small-scale commercial activities, which are secondary to the use of the premises as a residence. They are permitted where the primary use of the dwelling remains residential and where the amenity of surrounding residences is not adversely affected. The planning authority, in considering applications for such uses, will consider the following:


·         The nature and extent of the work;

·         The effects on the amenities of adjoining properties particularly as regards hours of operation, noise and general disturbance;

·         The anticipated levels of traffic generation; and

·         The generation, storage and collection of waste.


Over the counter services, business signage, advertising hoardings, security gates/grilles and excessive security lights are not normally appropriate in a residential area and will be subject to appropriate restrictions. The local authority may grant a temporary permission of two/three years for home-based economic activities to facilitate on-going monitoring of the activity. However such uses will not normally be permitted in apartments.



11.7  Open Space

11.7.1  Private Open Space

An adequate amount of private open space should be provided within the curtilage of each dwelling.  In general the requirement will be 60 to 75 sq.m minimum for 3/4/5 bedroom houses in order to ensure that most household activities are accommodated and at the same time offers visual delight, receive some sunshine and encourage plant growth.  Private open space will be measured from behind the rear building line.


The boundaries of rear gardens should generally be provided with a permanent durable barrier with a minimum height of 1.8 metres.







Table 11.5: Private Open Space Requirements for houses


Type of Unit


Minimum Private Open Space

1/2 bedroom houses

48 sq.m


3 & 4 bedroom houses


60 -75sqm




11.7.2  Public Open space

The Council will require a detailed high quality open space and landscape design plan including specifications, prepared by suitably qualified professionals, to be submitted with all planning applications for multi-unit residential developments.


Developers should consider providing a variety of open spaces both formal and informal. Semi-natural areas should be provided such as wetlands, woodlands, meadows, green corridors as well as formal gardens, and seating areas.  These elements work best as part of a structure to the provision of open space.


Applications shall have regard to the qualitative standards outlined in Section 4.18 of Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas.


The following must be taken into consideration when designing open space:

  • Open space should  be of a high visual standard so that it is functional and accessible to all;
  • Open space should be designed so that passive surveillance is provided.
  • Open spaces should not be located to the side or the rear of housing units.
  • Provide multifunctional open spaces at locations deemed appropriate whereby both passive and active uses are delivered.
  • Ensure open space provision is suitably proportioned.  Inappropriate narrow tracts of land are not acceptable and will not be included in the calculation of open space for a proposed development nor any area due to its nature (e.g. marshy) or topography (slope) which is deemed unsuitable.
  • Include proposals for drainage of the public open space
  • Hard landscaping elements should also be identified, such as paving or cobbled areas which play important role in the design and presentation of open space concepts
  • Retention of existing natural features (which should be protected and incorporated into open space)
  • Appropriate pedestrian and cycle linkages between open spaces should be shown on the site layout plan;
  • All children and young people should have access to play space which should be within a reasonable and safe walking distance from home. 
  • Play spaces should be made identifiable by appropriate ‘play’ signage
  • Pedestrianisation in the vicinity of such areas should be maximised, and traffic should be eliminated or traffic calming measures put in place
  • Lanes within housing estates or connecting housing estates should be designed to allow for the safe movement of pedestrians and cyclists and should be adequately overlooked and lit and not be excessive in length.


11.7.3  Open Space in new residential development

Applicants will be required to make provision for sports and recreation 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.


The Council will require a minimum public open space provision of 2.4 hectares per 1,000 population. For the purposes of this calculation, public open space requirements are to be based on residential units with an occupancy rate of 2.8 persons per unit.


A reduction to this standard will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances as determined by the local authority.  Where such a relaxation occurs the provision of open space within any scheme should not be below 10% of the site area.


Residential planning applications in excess of 200 units will require a recreational needs assessment. Recreation provision should form an integral element of development proposals.  The Council will apply the standards as set out in Table 11.6 as a minimum requirement for on-site provision as part of residential development or for off-site provision.  In the interests of meeting strategic needs the Council may pool together the requirements of individual and relatively smaller developments to provide facilities and amenities of a strategic nature at the higher end of the hierarchy.  Developer contributions may also be sought and may be applied to improve existing facilities nearby.


In areas where new development is proposed and the cumulative impact of the development of new houses will, or is expected to, exceed the volume of housing development identified in Table 11.6, developers will be required to provide financial contributions or lands towards the development of sports and recreation facilities that will be developed to meet the needs of their development in conjunction with the expected needs of other nearby developments.  In instances where this includes, or is expected to include the acquisition of lands this requirement will be specified.  


Where on-site provision is not appropriate the County Council will levy a sum of money from each housing unit in lieu of the provision of public open space/recreation facilities.




Table 11.6: Amenity Development Thresholds


Site Capacity

No. of Dwellings

Minimum quantity and type of leisure facilities required


A minimum of 0.25 hectares must be provided.

25 or over

Open space 2.4 hectares per 1,000 people

(a minimum of 0.25 hectares must be provided)

100 – 199

Public open space to include a Neighbourhood Playable space

200 – 499

Equipped public open space to include:

One full size grass sports pitch;

One local playable space; and

One court multi-use games area with Community association/club movement.

500 – 599

Public space to include:

One full size grass sports pitch;

One local playable space and additional neighbourhood playable space;

One court multi-use games area; and

Two tennis courts / basketball courts etc.

600 +

Equipped public open space to include:

Two full size grass sports pitches;

One local playable space and additional neighbourhood playable spaces;

One court multi-use games area, and two tennis courts/basketball courts etc.


One community/leisure Building including full size badminton/basketball court with community association/club movement within.

Equipped public open space to include:

Two full size grass sports pitches;

One local playable space  and additional neighbourhood playable spaces;

One court multi-use games area; and two tennis courts/basketball courts etc.


Where a proposed development is located in close proximity to an established park area or zoned open space, the open space requirement may be relaxed depending on the nature and quality of existing provision.  However, a financial contribution may be required towards the improvement of the existing facility to cater for extra demand.


Developers will be required to make suitable provision for the future management and maintenance of open space required under this policy where spaces and facilities are not taken in charge by the Local Authority.  Play space

A standard of a minimum of 10 sq. m. of dedicated playable space per residential unit is to be provided as an integral part of the required open space for each new development.  This playable space can form part of the overall open space provision of a development but must be dedicated to play. 


This play space is to be distributed throughout the development and should take into account the presence or lack of existing off-site provision.  The total space requirement should be broken down into the relevant typologies taking account of the maximum walking distances from residential units given below. 




Play Space Type                     Maximum walking distance from residential unit

Doorstep Playable Space                                                        100m

Local Playable Space                                                              400m

Neighbourhood Playable Space                                              800m

Youth Space                                                                            800m


Doorstep playable space suitable for younger children can be included in smaller areas while the other play spaces will require larger areas. The doorstep playable space should be laid out to include a mixture of fixed equipment such as rockers, cradle swings, carousels, slides and junior multi units together with the use of sand, water and other materials for creative play.


The local playable space should include a mixture of rockers, swings, carousels, multi units, space nets and balance beams among other items of fixed equipment suitable for children up to 12 years of age together with the use of sand, water and other materials for creative play.


A neighbourhood playable space should be an extension of both the doorstep and local playable space with a wider range of play equipment and range of play opportunities providing a challenging, stimulating play environment.


Youth space should include detailed proposals to provide for the recreational requirements of young people over 12 of an area. Any set of proposals shall take into account the existing level of provision in the surrounding area and will attempt to deal with existing deficiencies.


Formal and informal games/recreational areas for adults and older persons should also be integrated within schemes (e.g. Tone Zones).






11.8  Scale of Development

11.8.1  Plot Ratio

Plot ratio is the relationship between site area and the total floor area of the buildings erected on it. The plot ratio is calculated by dividing the gross floor area of the building by the site area.


Plot ratio = Gross Floor Area divided by gross site area.


The purpose of plot ratio is to prevent adverse effects of both over-development and under-development on the amenity and the layout of buildings, to achieve desirable massing and height of buildings, to balance the capacity of the site and street frontages. It is recommended that a maximum plot ratio of 2.0 be set for the city centre and 1.0 for all other areas. The Planning Authority will permit higher plot ratios only in cases where exceptional standards of design are achieved.


11.8.2  Site Coverage

The purpose of site coverage control is to prevent over-development, to avoid overshadowing and to protect rights to light of adjoining properties.  The maximum normal site coverage for uses in all areas is 65%.  In the city centre, site coverage may be allowed to increase up to 85% or up to the existing site coverage.  In some cases, a higher percentage may be allowed, subject to the proper planning and sustainable development of the site.


Site coverage = Ground floor area divided by gross site area.


11.8.3  Family Flats

A ‘family’ flat refers to a sub-division or extension of a single dwelling unit to accommodate a member of the immediate family and is generally acceptable, provided it is not a separate detached unit and that it is possible to provide direct access to the remainder of the house. There shall be no permanent subdivision of the garden.  The flat shall not be let or sold, other than as part of the overall property and shall revert to being part of the original house when no longer occupied by a family member.  The design should ensure that the flat forms an integral part of the main dwelling unit capable of reintegration for single family use.


The principal requirement for any proposed family flat extension is that the development shall generally not exceed 50% of the floor area of the main dwelling. In the case of a two-storey family flat, an internal connecting door will normally be required at both levels. External doors will normally only be permitted to the side and rear of the house, with the presumption against an independent front door. Access from an internal door only or by side doors well screened from the front elevation or to the front within an enclosed porch shared with the existing front door. The design should have regard to the need for light and privacy of adjoining properties.  The form and design of the existing building should be followed and the extension should integrate fully with the existing building by using similar detailing and window proportions, materials and finishes.



11.8.4  Domestic Extension

The principal requirement for any proposed domestic extension is that the design should have regard to the need for light and privacy of adjoining properties.  The form and design of the existing building should be followed and the extension should integrate fully with the existing building by using similar detailing and window proportions.  Where an existing dwelling is being remodeled and extended, the proposed extension will be considered on its own merits.  A high standard of modern design and materials will be encouraged in this instance.  



11.8.5  Parking in Front Gardens

The cumulative effect of removal of front garden walls and railings damages the character and appearance of suburban streets and roads, contributes to an overall reduction in permeable surfaces vital to flood relief, and the introduction of multiple vehicular accesses reduces the level of communal on street parking. Consequently proposals for off street parking need to be balanced against loss of amenity and communal parking. The removal of front garden walls and railings will not generally be permitted where they have a negative impact on the character of streetscapes (e.g. in Architectural Conservation Areas and other areas of architectural and historic character) or reduce the level of communal parking to an unacceptable degree.


Where permitted, “drive-ins” should:

• Not have outward opening gates;

• Have a vehicular entrance not wider than 3m;

• Have a vehicle entrance not wider than 50 per cent of the width of the front boundary;

• Have an area of hardstanding (parking space of 2.5m x 5m);

• Suitably landscape the balance of the space;

• Have gates, walls/fence and railings made good.



11.8.6  Subdivision of Existing Residential Units

Applications for permission to subdivide or change the use of existing residential units will be considered on their merits.  The design of developments shall be such that it complements the existing layout or streetscape and shall not interfere with the residential and other amenities of the area and shall provide a suitable quality of residential amenity for all the proposed units.


Having regard to the demand for 1 bedroom units in the city, the Planning Authority may in exceptional circumstances consider proposals for the subdivision of buildings into one bedroom units provided the following standards are met:


  • The entire development is maintained and managed under single ownership.  No unit shall be sold or managed separately. 
  • Communal facilities including open space, parking, bicycle storage, waste storage etc. are conveniently located for residents.    



11.8.7  Building Height Control

The following considerations will be taken into account in deciding an application for high buildings and other high structures:

  • Overshadowing and consequent loss of light caused to surrounding property
  • Overlooking (particularly of residential property) and consequent loss of privacy to surrounding premises
  • Disruption of scale of the streetscape
  • Does it detract from historic buildings or spaces or important landmarks?
  • Effect on existing buildings having special value (for example, a spire, dome, tower or other high building)
  • Views obscured
  • Obtrusion on the skyline
  • Scale of the building in relation to its open spaces and buildings
  • Is site large enough to give visual transition
  • Purpose or civic importance of the building
  • Effect on micro-climate
  • The need to create a positive urban design
  • Analyse impact at city wide and at a local scale


Where, in the opinion of the Planning Authority, a location for a high building is acceptable the building itself should be of outstanding architectural quality, creating a building which is elegant, contemporary, stylish, and in terms of form and profile, makes a positive contribution to the existing skyline.


11.8.8  Building Lines

The Planning Authority will normally seek to ensure that development is not carried out in front of established building lines. Generally, it will be an aim to create a continuous building line along a street edge. Consistent building lines will also be encouraged in the design of neighbourhood centres and in new industrial/business park developments, where buildings will have a clear relationship with each other. In built up areas, development which would infringe on an existing building line and would be prejudicial to residential amenity or orderly development, will not be allowed.


Building lines may be relaxed in the following cases:

  •  to incorporate key landscape features into the development layout,
  • to incorporate key landmark buildings,
  • for innovative designs which can positively enhance the townscape,
  • for innovative housing layouts, where the traditional set back from the public footpath is flexible due to new designs, with a decreasing emphasis on the minimum required space to the front of dwellings,
  • to provide important areas of public open space, i.e. squares.





11.8.9  Infill Development

Within the city infill development and refurbishment schemes will be required to pay particular attention to the local scale and plot size and the requirements of any Architectural Conservation Area within which the site is located.  In the wider City and suburban areas infill and backland development will also have to pay particular attention to the local character of the area in terms of blocks, plots and buildings. Development will only be considered if it:


·         Will not detract from the character of the area,

·         Will not be detrimental to the residential amenities of the area,

·         Will not be prejudicial to the proper planning and development of the area.



11.9  Phased Development

 The Council shall seek a phased approach to large housing developments.  Applications for residential development shall illustrate the phasing for the scheme. Phasing proposals shall ensure that open space and infrastructure to serve dwellings in a given phase e.g. public lighting, footpaths, is completed to the satisfaction of the Councils prior to the initiation of the succeeding phase. Each phase must be completed in full (including infrastructure, public open space etc) before the next phase commences.  The Councils will apply a sequence to the phasing to ensure that each phase is served by adequate services and infrastructure. 


11.10  Construction Standards

Standards for site development works and, in particular, footpaths, sewers, drains and water supply shall be in accordance with the Building Regulations and the Recommendations for Site Development Works for Housing Areas (1998) published by the Department of the Environment and Local Government.


The Planning Authority will normally require that all wires and cables for the provision of public utility services shall be ducted underground to preserve the amenity and visual character of an area, and in the interests of public safety.


11.11  Building Regulations

All new dwellings must comply with the Building Regulations. The Planning and Building Regulations are independent of each other and therefore a grant of planning permission does not necessarily mean that any proposed structure complies with the Building Regulations. It is important that the Building Regulations inform and direct the pre-planning of any new structure as attempting to implement the Building Regulations at a later stage could significantly compromise any grant of planning permission.





11.12  Shopfronts

Shopfronts are one of the most important elements in determining the character, quality and image of retail streets in the city centre.   In order to conserve the distinctive character of Kilkenny City, it is the policy of the Planning Authority to:


  • Encourage the maintenance of original shopfronts.
  • Encourage the reinstatement of traditional shopfronts where poor replacements have been installed. 
  • Promote modern design and high quality materials where new shopfronts on new or modern buildings are being proposed.  Where existing shopfronts are of no special merit, total replacement with a contemporary design is acceptable and if sensitively handled can greatly enhance the appearance of the street.
  • Encourage the use of high quality natural materials in shopfront design. 


Modern ‘multiple’ formats which have adopted a corporate image will not necessarily be allowed to use their standardised shopfront design, corporate colours and materials.  Such companies should be encouraged to ensure that their particular fascia takes account of the character of the street and local area.  The removal of street doors giving separate access to upper floors will not be permitted unless alternative separate access is provided.


11.12.1                      Fascia Signage

As a general principle, fascia signs should be simple in design and not excessive in illumination or size.  The following basic guidelines will be applied in assessing planning applications for fascia signage in the city’s architectural conservation areas (the term ‘shopfront’ is used to refer to all commercial ground floor facades including restaurants, public houses etc.):


  • Hand painted timber fascias will be encouraged in existing traditional shopfronts.   
  • Plastic derived fascias will not be permitted in new or existing shopfronts. 
  • Internally illuminated box fascias will not be permitted. 
  • Natural materials (e.g. wood, metal etc.) will be permitted.  Man-made materials (e.g. plastic, uPVC etc.) will not be permitted.  
  • The construction of nameplate fascias linking two or more buildings is generally unacceptable.


11.12.2                      Security Shutters

 The installation of security shutters on the external façade of a building can have a detrimental impact on the character of the shopping streets at night and thereby detract from the visual amenity of the city.  The Planning Authority will discourage the use of such shutters.


Alternatives to roller shutters, such as the use of demountable open grilles, will be preferred where security needs are involved.  Demountable grilles can be attractively designed and can positively contribute to the character of the shopfront and the street.


The erection of a security shutter and its associated screening would require planning permission.  Where security shutters are considered to be essential because of the type of business transacted or goods stored, the Planning Authority may in exceptional circumstances permit them provided that they meet the following criteria:


  • They must be open grille type (not perforated or solid)
  • The colour must match the shopfront colour scheme. 
  • Where possible they must be located, together with their associated housing, behind the window display.



11.12.3                      Canopies and Blinds

Planning permission is required for the erection of canopies.  Each planning application will be considered on the basis of need for and function of the canopy.  Full details of the canopy structure will be required at planning application stage, i.e. materials proposed, canopy size (open and closed), blind box location and arm design.  The following basic guidelines will be applied in assessing planning applications for canopies and awnings in the city’s architectural conservation areas:

·         Canopies of traditional design and materials will be favoured, i.e. canvas canopy, wrought iron arms, timber blind box etc. 

·         The use of plastic and/or uPVC will not be permitted.  Curved or Dutch canopies will not be permitted. 

·         Canopies and awnings shall not be used for advertising purposes other than the name of the premises. 

·         Canopies shall be positioned to avoid covering any distinctive architectural elements such as fascia or pilasters.  They will not be permitted where they detract from the character of the shopfront or buildings of special architectural interest. 


Blinds were traditionally incorporated into the shop front fascia and designed to retract into it when not required.  This is still the best way to handle a blind where one is required.



11.12.4                      Lighting

Internally illuminated fascias or projecting box signs will not be permitted.  Concealed strip or flood lighting and spotlights may be an acceptable alternative.  The internal lighting of the shop window is preferable to the external lighting of the building or shopfront.


The installation of lights to the exterior of the building to highlight the entire building façade will be discouraged as this will lead to buildings competing with each other which would detract from the character of the street. 



11.13  Signage and Advertising

The over-riding principle is the avoidance of visual clutter and an improvement in the quality of the commercial character of the city.  Advertising signs, either individually or particularly in groups, can have either a positive or negative impact on the character of a building, street or area depending on their design, size and location. 


Advice and guidance in respect of signage on national roads concerning major tourist and leisure features is outlined in the NRA’s Policy on the Provision of Tourist & Leisure Signage on National Roads[4].


The Planning Authority will strictly control all advertising signs in relation to their location, design, materials and function and will restrict non essential advertising structures or any advertising structure which would impact injuriously on amenity, the built environment or road safety. 

.  The following basic guidelines will be applied in assessing planning applications for signs and advertising structures:


  • Individual signs should be designed for the building it will be displayed on.  A bespoke sign can be a piece of art in its own right if carefully designed and made of high quality natural materials.  Signs shall be sympathetic in design and colour both to the building and its surroundings. 
  • Plastic/Vinyl banner-type signs will be discouraged.  Projecting signs, banners and flagpoles will be restricted in size and number to prevent clutter. 
  • Natural high quality materials (e.g. wood, metal etc.) will be encouraged.  Man-made materials (e.g. plastic, uPVC etc.) will not be permitted in ACA’s.  The use of neon, plastic, PVC, Perspex flashing, reflectorised or glitter type signs on the exterior of buildings will be prohibited.  Traditional painted signs and wrought iron hanging signs will be encouraged. 
  • The use of contact signage, applied directly to the glass of a shop window, is an undesirable form of signage as it creates a visual barrier between the shop floor and the street.   This will be actively discouraged. 
  • Signs shall not obscure architectural features or details.  Signs will not be permitted above eaves or parapet levels or to project above the roofline of buildings.
  • Signs will not be permitted where they interfere with the safety of pedestrians, the safety and free flow of traffic or if they obscure road signs. Signs attached to buildings are preferable to those on freestanding hoardings.
  • Favourable consideration may be given, in consultation with business groups, to the erection of composite advance signs on which the facilities available in the city will be declared. Due to the damage which a proliferation of large, competitive advance signs can cause to the appearance and image of the important entrance routes into the city, the local authorities will seek to phase out individual advance signage as the opportunity arises.



11.14  Fast food take-aways

The policy in the previous Plan was to actively discourage and prohibit takeaway/fast-food outlets. However the reality is that there are several such facilities within the City & Environs and the prohibition was restricting market operators. The prohibition of the hot food take-aways resulted from the impacts of noise, odour, litter and anti-social behaviour late at night.


In this Plan it is intended to relax the prohibition on take-away food outlets but to restrict their development. A proliferation of hot food take-aways will not be permitted in any particular area.  The location of a fast food take-away in neighbourhood centres, with complementary uses such as the convenience shop, chemist, video/DVD rental unit etc., would cut down on multiple trip generation.


Planning applications for new fast food take-away uses will be considered on their own merits. Regard will be had to the impact of the take-away on the amenities of the area, including noise, odour and litter. The Planning Authority may impose restrictions on opening hours of such uses as a condition of a planning permission.  Full shopfront details will be required at application stage to assess the visual suitability of proposals in the area.


11.15  Night Clubs/Public Houses

In order to maintain an appropriate mix of uses and protect night-time amenities in Kilkenny City & Environs the local authorities will, through the appropriate use of their development management powers, prevent an excessive concentration of pubs, bars, nightclubs and hot-food take-aways in any one area.  The Councils will ensure that the intensity of any proposed use is in keeping with both the character of the area (i.e. residential, mixed use, etc.) and with adjoining businesses, when development proposals are being considered. Along with general planning issues such as traffic, waste etc., the following issues will also be considered in the assessment of applications for new premises and extensions to premises:


·         The amenity of nearby residents, i.e. general disturbance, hours of operation, car parking, litter and fumes.

·         New buildings must be designed to prevent noise escaping and with adequate provision for refuse disposal, storage and collection.

·         The need to retain a suitable diversity of uses in the city centre throughout the day and evening to maintain the vitality and viability of the City.

·         An important consideration for the local authority will be the number and frequency of such facilities and events in such facilities.

·         Facade design will be carefully controlled by the planning authority and in particular the type and degree of advertising signage and lighting. The design shall respect the character of the street and the buildings.



11.16  Petrol and Gas Filling Stations

A petrol station may include the following: petrol pumps, diesel pumps, gas dispenser, storage tanks, hose pipes and other vehicle services i.e. car washing, oil, water and air. It may also include the sale of goods related to motor trade, a cash kiosk, and a canopy over the pumps and provision of minor repairs, oil and tyre changes.


Ancillary retail uses may be permitted such as small convenience type shops with a floor area generally not exceeding 100 sq metres of sales space. However, planning applications for the provision of such shops shall be applied for specifically. The layout of the station forecourt should be arranged to allow dedicated parking for those shopping at the shop.


The most suitable location for petrol filling stations and associated commercial developments is on the outskirts of the city and within urban speed limits. They will not be permitted at locations where because of their appearance, noise, fumes etc. they would be injurious to the amenities of the area, nor will they be permitted in areas where there are traffic hazards or where hazards might be likely to arise.


Any application for a new petrol filling station should provide sufficient road frontage, clear visibility, two points of access, sanitary convenience for public use, and the surface of the forecourt shall be graded, surfaced with bitumen macadam or other suitable material and drained to the satisfaction of the planning authority. A petrol/oil interceptor trap shall be fitted to the surface water drainage system.


11.17  Tree and Hedgerow Preservation

To ensure that trees and hedgerows are protected on a site which has been the subject of a grant of planning permission, a cash lodgement/bond may be required, the amount of which shall be determined by the Planning Authority.


Development will not generally be permitted where there is likely damage or destruction either to trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order or those which have a particular local amenity or nature conservation value, or are identified in the Survey of Mature Trees (See Appendix E).  Development that requires the felling of mature trees of amenity value, conservation value or special interest, even though they may not be listed in the Development Plan, will be discouraged.


The replacement of hedgerows/trees shall have due regard to the ecological function of hedgerows as a wildlife corridor. When planting new hedgerows a mixture of native species shall be proposed and this shall occur at the commencement of building works and should link to existing hedgerows to aid ecological networks.


Where trees and hedgerows are identified and affected by a proposed development, a survey will be required and completed in accordance with BS 5837 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations 2012.


In general the following requirements should be addressed where the protection of existing trees and landscaping issues arise:


  • Topographical Survey - Accurately measured showing all relevant site features.
  • Soil assessment – where appropriate to determine whether a soil is shrinkable, that may cause the potential for indirect damage.  Soil structure composition and PH for the provisions of new planting.


  • A tree survey - details trees and hedgerows identified on the topographical survey and on land adjacent to the development site, including individual trees, groups of trees and woodlands.   All trees with a diameter of 75mm and above (measured at a height of 1.4m above ground level) should be included in the survey. Hedgerows should be surveyed by reference to species, branch canopy, spread, shape, height and condition. Tree dimensions, quality and retention value should be identified in accordance with the context of the proposed development (see sections 4.5 Table 1+2 of BS 5837).


  • The tree survey - should identify the constraints posed by trees, both above and below ground, which will inform the site layout design. Constraints include, the presence of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), the existing and eventual crown spreads of trees and their unreasonable obstruction of light etc.


  • Arboricultural Impact Assessment - a report should be compiled by an arboriculturist using the data collated from the site survey. The report should assess the impact and the effects the proposed design has directly and indirectly on the trees and where necessary recommends mitigation.


  • A Tree Protection Plan – details the proposed design layout shown on a plan with all trees clearly identified with their root protection areas (RPA) annotated based on the topographical survey to include all trees. The classification of each tree and the required protection measures during development.

 New Planting – takes account of existing landscape features and is essential for consideration in the layout, design and future use of a proposed development. New planting should account for the future growth of canopies, stems and root systems to maturity and their potential effects on existing site structures.

  • Arboricultural Method Statements – demonstrates how unavoidable construction operations may take place within the RPA or crown spread of trees (whichever is greatest), clearly demonstrating how these operations will have a little detriment to retained trees. These operations may include but are not exclusive to: -


  1. Temporary access
  2. Installation of service runs
  3. Construction of hard standing
  4. Foundation excavations
  5. Subterranean structures e.g. basement extensions


11.18  Development Contributions

The Council will require financial contributions in accordance with a development contributions scheme adopted by the Council under S.48 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2011 (or other relevant legislation as may be enacted from time to time). Such contributions are in respect of the capital expenditure necessary for the provision of public infrastructure and facilities benefiting development in the County, and that is provided, or that it is intended will be provided, by or on behalf of the Council.


11.19  Bonds

To ensure that developments undertaken by the private developers are satisfactorily completed developers will be required to provide cash deposits or submit a bond from an insurance company or other financial institution acceptable to the Planning Authority for the satisfactory completion of developments and their ancillary services.  This bond or surety is to be submitted before development is commenced.  In the case of residential developments, the bond will only be released when the estate has been fully completed to the satisfaction of the Planning Authority and has been formally taken in charge by the Planning Authority.


11.20  Future Publications of Standards and Guidelines

The Planning Authority will continue, during the course of the Plan period, to prepare and make available to the public, technical and design guidelines on matters affecting planning and sustainable development of the City and Environs

[1] Depts. of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Environment, Community and Local Government, Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, 2013

[3] Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities, 2007

[4] National Roads Authority, Policy on the Provision of Tourist & Leisure Signage on National Roads, 2011


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