Kilkenny residents vow to fight special housing development on former Bishop’s Palace
A group of Kilkenny residents say they are extremely concerned about the scale, density and height of a proposed 120-unit development at Sion Hermitage, the former Bishop’s Palace of the Diocese of Ossory.
The Sion Road Residents group say a proposed development by Torca Developments “is in contravention of the Kilkenny County Development Plan 2014-2020 and will require An Bord Pleanála, to overrule Kilkenny County Council’s vision for the area.”
On March 26 Torca Developments made an application directly to An Bord Pleanala for the large new development under the Special Housing Development (SHD) programme.
As the Sion Hermitage development plans for more than 100 homes, it is considered a Special Housing Development under new guidelines brought in by the Government in 2016 in an effort to speed up the planning process and get more homes built and into the Irish housing market.
However, as exclusively revealed in KilkennyNow.ie this past weekend, those plans have now been put on hold due the current Coronavirus crisis. An Bord Pleanála has shelved all SHD’s for consideration until the end of July at the earliest.
The Sion Road Resident’s are now taking their concerns to the Kilkenny County Council, local public representative and An Bord Pleanála in an effort to stop the development they believe is “completely out of character,” with the area.
A spokesperson for the groups said: “Locals are extremely concerned about the scale, density and height of a proposed ‘city-style development’ which includes tower blocks of four storeys on the site of the former Bishop’s Palace and Peace in Christ retreat.
“The flats, in particular, would be totally out of place with the Sion Road, the Nore Valley Trail and with the existing community of family residences and clients of the HSE’s sheltered accommodation.
“The residents are not against change, but there are significant concerns about the inevitable increase in traffic on Sion Road, the Dublin road and knock on effect on the roundabout,” the spokesperson said.
Other developments on the Sion Road have not meet with objections, as the residents agreed they were in line with plans for the are and sympathetic to the low-density model of the council’s development plan. The group is currently speaking with the local authority to gain support in their efforts to stop the Sion Hermitage development in its present format.
“The Sion Road Residents group are actively engaging with Kilkenny public representatives and bodies to seek their support in upholding the Kilkenny County Council Development Plan low density zoning which promotes the protection of natural resources, protects, provides and improves residential amenities at low density, and has regard to the character of the area,” the spokesperson for the resident’s group concluded.