Tourism boost for picturesque Kilkenny village as drawn out planning saga ends
A new café and holiday apartments in one of Kilkenny’s most picturesque villages has given the go-ahead, providing a huge tourism boost to the area.
The building and restaurant known as Circle of Friends in Bank House on Inistioge’s High Street can proceed with plans to transform the building into a new café/restaurant and four new Airbnb-style apartments on the upper floors.
Kilkenny County Council had initially approved the plans for Circle of Friends in back in January 2020.
However, An Bord Pleanála intervened late last year with concerns about awarding a disability certificate required to complete the development.
The national planning authority this week decided to approve the disability certificate, noting that a lift was not required in the building.
Under its last guise, the Circle of Friends – named after the Maeve Binchy novel whose film adaptation was shot in the village – had a retail unit on the ground floor and a restaurant on the first floor.
The plans submitted by the Johnnie McGrath (Approved Retirement Fund) and now approved by An Bord Pleanála will see the café/restaurant move to a more accessible location on the ground floor.
The first and second floors will be converted into two one-bedroom studio apartments for short-term holiday lettings.
Bank House is a listed/protected building for conservation under the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. An Bord Pleanála took this into account when making its decision.