D35 An Taisce - City

On behalf of the Kilkenny Association of An Taisce, I'm enclosing our submission to the Kilkenny Draft City and Environs Development Plan 2014-2020.
I would like to complement you on the broad, encompassing nature of the Plan.
Yours sincerely,
Mary T. Brennan (Honorary Secretary, An Taisce's Kilkenny Association)
Kilkenny City and County Development Plans 2014-20 Submission by An Taisce - Kilkenny Association, to the Draft Plans
Kilkenny Draft City & Environs Development Plan 2014-2020
Chapter 6 Recreation Regional and City Parks and Coridon
The proposed development of a garden feature between John's Bridge and Greens's Bridge is to be welcomed, unfortunately the CAS phase 1 bridge will be visually intrusive.
6.2 Public Rights of Way
We welcome the proposed survey of public rights of way in the city and urge that public information be provided on them.
6.4 Active Recreational Facilities
The failure over many years to provide facilities for a skateboard park is disheartening, and risks alienating a whole generation of young people from the value of local government and democracy.  The CDP does not address the issue specifically, despite supportive general statements
Chapter 7 Heritage
7.2.5 Woodlands, Trees and Hedgerows
We suggest that the trees noted in the survey carried out by the Council as being 'worthy of preservation' be assigned TPOs. This would at least afford them extra protection provided through the planning laws that they deserve.
7.4 Architectural Heritage
The essential character of the historic city will be adversely impacted by the proposed bridge over the Nore in CAS phase 1. The bridge will be a major intrusion on the view (north) from John's Bridge 'of the River Nore Peace Park and the nationally important Green's Bridge.
The scale of the bridge will detract from the special character of St Canice's ACA and Michael St./ Wolfe Tone street ACA.
The increased traffic will sever the medieval mile between the City Centre ACA and St Canices's ACA by increasing traffic and noise. City Centre ACA
The 18th or 19th c. Pleasure House building at Bateman Quay adjoining the Diageo buildings is in a very ruined state. It was the subject of a conservation report in 2010 by Ivor McElveen Associates.  It was commissioned by An Taisce - Kilkenny Association and funded by the Heritage Council.  The entrance was made secure by the council but the roof is-partly destroyed and urgent protective measures are needed to prevent further irreparable damage. A rough estimate of the cost then was €70,000. It is a unique reminder of Kilkenny social life at that time, as it lay at the end of one of the burgage plots on Kiernan Street, and functioned as a summer tea house with adjacent boat slip. We
urge the council to include its protection as an objective in the Plan. (A copy of the conservation report was forwarded to the council at that time, and can be supplied again if requested).
Chapter 8 Infrastructure and Environment
8.1.3 Water Conservation
The CDP states a three stage plan for water conservation comprising metering, leakage control, and pipe rehabilitation, but does not propose a plan for rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is becoming increasingly common in new public and private housing. We
suggest that a condition of planning permission for large developments should include a requirement to harvest a certain percentage of expected rainfall on the roof/s. Smaller developments such as private houses should be encouraged. to collect rainwater for use in gardens.
Chapter 10 Transport
10.1 Sustainable Transport/ Smarter Travel
There should be a paradigm shift away from planning new roads and car parks to facilitate more car traffic in the city centre, and increased emphasis on 'smarter travel' objectives of cycling, public transport, walking, and car-pooling.
We welcome the emphasis in the CDP for implementing Smarter Travel initiatives. Recent unofficial local HGV counts demonstrate that much and possibly most of the HGV traffic entering the city from the west is travelling towards the Tullaroan Road. We strongly urge the completion of the Ring Road from Castlecomer Road to the Callan Road, thus completing the Ring. The building of the CAS in priority to the Ring Road is inexplicable in traffic and Smarter Travel terms, quite apart from the heritage issues. The review of the mobility management plan being undertaken this year should address this point immediately.
10.1.2 Cycling and Walking
The present status of the Shared Space concept is confusing. Signs at the 'Gateways' seem to indicate that it exists, along with a 30 kmph speed limit for cars. Clearly neither situation exists on the ground. There should be much better information and advice on the Shared Space concept, and enforcement of 30 kph speed limits regardless of the status of Shared Space. Cycling
A cycling officer should be appointed whose role would be to monitor the cycle paths and roads on a regular basis. The only reliable way of monitoring the safety, risks,. etc. is for someone to cycle the route and report to the relevant council department. A shore on the cycle route around St. James's Park leading to St. Canice's NS and Loreto- School is dangerously below the path level and has been so for years. It can only be negotiated by pulling out into traffic, unsafe at any age but unacceptable for- primary school children ages. An anomaly exists for cyclists at controlled pedestrian crossings at traffic calming points, where cyclists are required to pullout of the cycle lane into the car lane. It should be possible to devise a system of cycle paths having traffic light controls if necessary, as in France etc., or a warning sign regarding pedestrians. Pedestrian Movement
We welcome the upgrading of many pedestrian paths in the city. However the pedestrian experience can still be inhibiting such as at roundabouts, unauthorized (but regular) car parking spots etc. The roundabouts on the Ring Road are particularly dangerous for pedestrians. A pedestrian officer would act as an 'ombudsman' for pedestrians interests. We advocate that positive discrimination for pedestrians should be built in to the timing sequence of  traffic lights, since pedestrians are exposed to the weather, and require a much shorter time interval.
The large number of tourists are clearly bewildered at the lengthy delays in traffic lights allowing pedestrian crossing, and can lead to dangerous jay walking in the belief that there is no pedestrian slot built in to the timing sequence.
The use of limestone paving (or granite or other natural native material) should be utilised as much as practical in Architectural Conservation Areas in Kilkenny city and county towns for historic, aesthetic, economic and practical reasons. Limestone paving has functioned admirably in many locations for centuries.
The use of Chinese imported 'granite' slabs on the Parade and elsewhere is also inappropriate in a county noted for its limestone heritage, and visually jarring. The beautiful granite cobblestones at some unexpected locations, as well as limestone kerbs look superb. Laneways
The CDP Development Management Standard refers to upgrading cycling facilities in new planning applications, including covered facilities. We would encourage the council to upgrade existing city and town cycle stands; the stands on High street are inadequate in number and office workers will be reluctant to leave their bicycles in the open all day. Covered facilities are provided at Kilkenny Railway Station, St. Luke's Hospital etc., and we urge the council to adopt this as a standard.
We suggest that existing shopping centres etc be encouraged to do this as a retrofit..
Some of the supermarkets have extensive car parking but no bicycle stands (or else not easily visible) including the discount retailers. It would be relatively easy for them to- convert a couple of car spaces to covered cycle stands. Cycle stands can be provided in conjunction with car parks where a degree of security oversight exists.
We welcome the recent cycle skills display in Kilkenny and encourage it to be repeated.
We suggest that maps of dedicated cycle routes should be erected in public areas in the city and towns for the benefit of both locals and visitors. The maps should also be made available online or as smart phone apps and in printed form via Tourist Information Offices, cycle shops, etc.
10.2.2 Bus
Specific plans for park and ride /stride locations are not identified. It would be prudent to do so in the interests of progressing government policy on Smarter Travel. Private bus operators should be asked to provide information panels at bus stops I shelters on times
routes of buses. It is impossible for the visitor or occasional traveller to know what services are available and when.
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