DoE1 Department of Environment - City

Senior Executive Officer Kilkenny Borough Council City Hall High Street Kilkenny.

Re: Draft Development Plan for Kilkenny City and Environs 2014-2020

A Chara, I am directed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to refer to your recent letter in relation to the above and set out hereunder observations on behalf of the Minister.

The Department acknowledges that the planning authority has prepared a comprehensive Draft Plan for Kilkenny City and Environs (2014-2020) which is focussed on a sustainable development strategy for consolidation of the city, environmentally, socially and economically.

The Department recommends that the Planning Authority have regard to any issues raised separately by the Regional Authority, National Roads Authority, Office of Public Works and National Parks and Wildlife Service and satisfy themselves that they have met the relevant requirements. Particular attention should be drawn to the requirements of the NRA in the context of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines, as set out in their report with the NRA will comment separately on the Draft City Plan and regard should be had to their comments.

There are in addition, a number of outstanding issues which require clarification as set out below.

Core Strategy- Housing Land Requirements

The Department feels that the case for the inclusion of these additional lands to accommodate market demand for housing on large sites in particular areas of the city is considered reasonable. However, the Council would need to ensure that this type of development does not impact negatively on the implementation of the phased development of more compact housing developments on the west of the city and the Council would need to monitor the impact of this type of development.

(a) The overall extent of land zoned between Phase 1, 2 and strategic reserve,

(b) Clarity on the zoning map in regard to lands which are zoned for existing residential (this would include small infill sites) and lands zoned for Phase 1 residential development, and

(c) The extent of strategic reserve land and its intended use.

Phasing The Department advises the Council to consider including clear criteria for bringing forward phase 2 lands for significant residential development in the life of the plan. In this regard the Council may wish to consider the inclusion of one or more of the following criteria;

(a) At least 75% of phase 1 lands have been fully developed, or;

(b) At least 75% of phase 1 lands have been fully committed to development (i.e. where planning permission has been granted and where construction is underway), or,

(c) In the case where all phase 1 lands have not been committed, proof that those uncommitted lands are unavailable for development or unserviceable and that phase 2 lands are readily serviceable,

(d) There is a proven demand for new development based on a demonstrated lack of availability of housing and of potential infill sites. .

Flood Risk

The Council should ensure that the flood risk assessment in the Draft Plan is in compliance with the Flood Risk Management Guidelines 2009 and in this context the relevant parcels of land which have been subject to the Development Plan Justification Test should be cross referenced with the text and clearly indicated and labelled on an accompanying draft plan map.


The Department notes that the Council have included policies and objectives on retailing in the City Plan area and have also prepared an ACA to guide retail development in the historic core. The Council should have regard to S5.2.5 Historic Centres in the Retail Planning Guidelines and the Character and Context Section of the Retail Design Manual which addresses the issue of significant retail development in the historic core retail area and contains useful advice on issues to be considered to protect the character of an area and also contribute to vibrancy and vitality in historic cores. The commitment of Waterford City as Gateway City to engage with the adjoining local authorities including Kilkenny with a view to preparing a Joint Retail Strategy for the Gateway is noted and the Department will be monitoring progress in preparing such a joint retail strategy in compliance with the Retail Planning Guidelines.

Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended)

The planning department is to be complemented in its approach to reducing the volume of objectives contained within the draft plan. However, in accordance with Section 10 of the Planning and Development Act (as amended) the Council should ensure that the draft plan is consistent with the requirements and mandatory objectives as set out therein. The Department notes that the overall numbers of objectives in the draft plan have been significantly reduced to improve implementation of key objectives in the life of the plan and that there appears to be no specific policies proposed when compared to the existing Kilkenny City Development Plan 2008 – 2014. The Council should note that as set out in the Development Plan Guidelines (2007), development plans should offer clear guidance to developers in framing development proposals and to the planning authority in assessing such proposals. Therefore the Council should satisfy itself that the reduced number of objectives and absence of specific policies are sufficient to fulfil the role of the development plan in the development management process with particular reference to Section 34 of the Planning Act (as amended). Where objectives and policies are proposed they should be clearly identified within the body of the text to ensure easy access for all users of the plan.

Ministerial Guidelines

The Council should ensure that, in accordance with Section 28 1(a) and (b) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), the Draft City Plan has regard to all relevant Ministerial Guidelines issued under s28 of the Act and that such references are up to date and accurate. The Department draws the attention of the Council to the recently published (January 2013) Development Contribution Schemes: Guidelines for Planning Authorities to which regard should be had. In accordance with s28(1B)(b) if the planning authority has formed the opinion that it is not possible to implement certain policies and objectives contained in Ministerial guidelines, then they must give reasons for that opinion, in the Draft Plan .


The Department notes the references throughout the plan to the need for the preparation of a progress report on the achievement of objectives and targets in the plan within two years after adoption. In this regard, the Council is requested to consider the inclusion of effective monitoring systems in the development plan in order to facilitate periodic review of the progress or otherwise of the implementation of the policies and objectives of the development plan within the life of the plan. It could include, for example, a table with a list of projects and or other targets and projections along with time-frames for stages of progress towards their achievement which could be reviewed on a periodic basis throughout the plan period.


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