Kilkenny Central Access Scheme Ongoing investigations at 21-22 Vicar Street
Summary of preliminary findings to date at 21 & 22 Vicar Street
New report finds no evidence of medieval manse on Vicar Street
Preliminary findings of an archaeological investigation into houses at Vicar Street due to be demolished to make way for the Kilkenny Central Access Scheme show no evidence of a medieval manse.
Revised EIS January 2011
EIS May 2008 (this document was subsequently revised.)
Architectural Survey March 2013.pdf (size 12.7 MB)
VicarStreet Summary of Archaeology and Architecture June 13.pdf (size 6.3 MB)
The Kilkenny Central Access SchemeChronology ofPlanning & Action to date
Report to Members on 21st June, 2013
- The Scheme has been an objective in successive City & Environs Development Plans for a number of years (2002-2008), (2008-2014) and earlier.
- It is a plan led scheme aimed at facilitating the sustainable development of Kilkenny City Centre and in so doing maintaining activity in the historic core of the city.
- It will provide access to develop in a sustainable and cost effective manner over 20 acres of brownfield city centre sites.
- The scheme meets the need to increase permeability within the city and to ease traffic congestion arising from the currently inadequate capacity of Green's bridge and John's Bridge and adjacent junctions.
- A route and bridge options report was prepared in 2006 and referred to statutory consultees.
- An Environmental Impact Statement was prepared in 2008 that covered impacts associated with the proposed Central Access Scheme at that time (i.e. the street and bridge from Vicar Street to the Castlecomer Road ,known as Phase 1, the road from Kilcreene to the Butts roundabout, known as Phase 2 and the road from Kilcreene Lodge to the Freshford road via Loughmacask ,known as Phase 3).
- A three day Oral Hearing was conducted by An Bord Pleanala in December 2008.
- In July of 2009 An Bord Pleanala issue an interim decision in which it expressed the view that Phase 2 and 3 were to be omitted on the grounds of prematurity and further that it would be appropriate to approve Phase 1.
- On the direction of An Bord Pleanala Kilkenny County Council amended the Environmental Impact Statement as it related to Phase 1 only (i.e. 700 metres of new street and a bridge commencing at Vicar Street and terminating on a new junction on the Castlecomer Road)
- The amended EIS and CPO were forwarded for consideration of the Bord in February 2011.
- The Bord made its final decision to grant approval for the scheme on 13th December, 2011 subject to conditions (ref 10.HA0014)
- The Bord also confirmed the Compulsory Purchase Order for the scheme on foot of which statutory notices were served on affected property owners/occupiers in the Spring of 2012.
- Site Investigation along the line of the KCAS and on the banks of the Nore was undertaken in the summer and autumn of 2012.
- The detailed design of the bridge and street was substantially completed in early 2013.
- An archaeological impact report is contained in Appendix 4 of the EIS. Two further phases of Archaeological investigation were scheduled into the scheme work programme. Phase 1 was completed following the excavation of slit trenches along the line of the new street in the summer of 2012. Phase 2 is due on completion of and concurrent to the deconstruction of the Vicar Street buildings this summer.
- An Architectural Conservation inspection of 20 to 22 Vicar Street was carried out in late 2012/early 2013. The Council is advised that to date there is no archaeology or architecture of special significance associated with the terrace of houses.
- Approval has been received from an Bord Pleanala and from the Department of Arts Gaeltacht and Heritage to deconstruct the buildings and to carry out archaeological investigations on site.
- Tender documents for the appointment of a main contractor are currently under preparation. It is planned that work on the new bridge will commence in the summer of 2014.
Archaeology and Architecture
VicarStreet Summary of Archaeology and Architecture June 13.pdf (size 6.3 MB)
Some frequently asked questions:-
Q. What will be the impact on Dean Street?
A. The scheme will have no impact on Dean Street. It will look exactly the same as it appears at present but provision will be made for improved crossing facilities and connectivity for pedestrians at the Irishtown Junction.
Q. What will happen to Green's Bridge?
A. The new bridge will take a lot of traffic off Greensbridge, an old structure that was built in 1776 and is not capable of taking the volume of traffic currently crossing the bridge. A local traffic management plan will be put in place for Vicar Street and Greensbridge aimed at making the area more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.
Q. What level of public consultation has taken place?
A. The level of communication is documented in the Environmental Impact Statement. This is summarised below:-
19th June 2007, Information meeting for residents of Wolfe Tone Street
12th September 2007, Public exhibition in City Centre Hotel
11th September 2007, Members of Kilkenny & Borough Councils
1st & 2nd December 2008, Oral Hearing Ormonde Hotel
The full EIS and drawings have been accessible to members of the public on the Borough Council website since January, 2011.
Q. Will the KCAS sever the Irishtown district from Hightown?
A. No. Dean Street will remain exactly as it is at present. The new street commences near the entrance to the Diageo car park at St Canices Place. Owing to its inclusive design that caters for cyclists and pedestrians it will make the St Canices quarter more connected and accessible.
Q. Would it make more sense to complete the Kilkenny Ring Road to the West of Kilkenny?
A. Kilkenny County Council has for the past six years been planning and developing the design of the Freshford Road to Castlecomer Road extension to the Ring Road. The Council expects to submit an EIS to An Bord Pleanala very soon in order to receive statutory approval to the project. The western extent of the ring road connecting to the Callan Road measures approximately 6km and costing over 30 million is simply not achievable at this time.
The Central Access Scheme is already partially funded, has full legal and statutory approval and is a scheme to serve the city centre. One of its main functions is to cater for the 80% to 90% of traffic generated internally within the city.
Q What impact will it have on archaeology and historic architecture?
A. The planned street will traverse mainly derelict industrial type sites. The route has been carefully selected to avoid if possible any known archaeology and this subject is covered comprehensively in the EIS for the scheme.
The conditions attaching to An Bord Pleanala approval and the subsequent licence obtained from the Dept of Arts Gaeltacht and Heritage require the engagement of an Archaeologist on site at all time during the deconstruction of the terrace of houses on Vicar Street.
In addition the methodology for deconstruction will be agreed with the national Monuments Section and all works will be carried out under directions issued by the Minister of Arts Gaeltacht and Heritage.
Test trenching carried out in the summer of 2012 along the route of the street has not revealed any archaeology of note.
Surveys and investigations by consultant archaeologists
Surveys and investigations by consultant archaeologists Valerie J Keeley Ltd and architectural and historical buildings specialist Mr Rob Goodbody, of Historic Building Consultants, are continuing on the gable or end wall of No 22 Vicar's St under licence and supervision of the Dept of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
This wall is on the line of a planned footpath for the proposed Central Access Scheme and is parallel to the line of the proposed new street.
In a major undertaking, all render has been removed from the three houses at Vicar Street to ensure that a full and detailed survey will inform the dating of the structures.
At this time there is not sufficient evidence to definitively date the gable wall at No 22 Vicar's Street. Substantial portions of the wall are modern and the architectural building survey and archaeological investigations currently underway will inform this process
To date there is no substantive evidence to support the view that these remains represent a 'Manse House' for the Prebendary of Tascoffin. Indeed at this point research indicates a move away from this theory.
It is clear from the extent of the ongoing investigations being conducted at the site, that the utmost consideration has been and is being afforded these structures.
The study currently being undertaken for the Council at Vicar Street is a designated process of in depth research, surveys and investigations. This work is under licence from the Dept of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, under Ministerial Direction and in line with An Bord Pleanala requirements.
Kilkenny County Council wish to continue this process to its conclusion within the context of our already established commitment to and respect of our heritage in Kilkenny City and county.