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Some Killarney residents should watch their gardens like hawks

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A “compelling” case is being made for the intensive use of lands within walking distance of Killarney town for housing. Close to 700 residential units will be needed, according to the draft Killarney Municipal District Plan for the next six years.

For Killarney town, so compelling is the case in the well-put-together, suspiciously cohesive, logically built-up and well-written plan, one wonders if one smells a CPO - a Compulsory Purchase Order?

For instance, we are told up front that the zoning strategy is to “build up critical mass” in the towns and villages of the Killarney area.

We are told that Killarney is the only town to have enjoyed significant growth, going from 13,760 in 2011 to 15,312 in 2016. Although the growth can’t be properly measured because of changes in census boundaries, we are told in another section.

We are told that Killarney has “unique” requirements as a tourist town and that this places significant pressure on local accommodation, in terms of provision and cost.

“In addition to the absence of affordable accommodation, the town requires significant numbers of seasonal workers, which creates extra pressure in terms of the high numbers seeking local accommodation and high rental costs,” it is stated.

The figure of 685 units is mentioned in the context of Killarney’s unique status of being the town with the oldest average age in the nation, thanks, we are told, to all the retirees who move here.

Significant areas of available and serviced land are not being released onto the market, and the proposal now is for almost 70 hectares south of the bypass and north of the Flesk to be zoned for housing. Next to nothing is to be allowed beyond this until houses have gone up in that area.

But the real meat, I suspect, is in the statement that as much as 30 per cent of the new housing will beon “infill or brownfield sites” within the town.

(By the way, there is a lovely howler on page 52, under the section “Housing Land Requirement”, where it states that “a principal tenant” of the approach is a sequential approach to zoning of residential lands, extending outwards from the centre. Nice one!)

But the part that interests me most is this:

“The Local Authority shall facilitate the redevelopment of all backland, infill, vacant and derelict sites throughout the town. It will encourage the construction of well-designed, high-density apartments or residential units subject to achieving a high quality of living accommodation for incoming residents, adequate provision of amenity space and refuse storage.”

Then there is the rather cheeky step of corralling the back gardens of the old houses in New Street, with accompanying map. And statements that New Street is to be” regenerated”.

In this context too, the Mission Road and Beech Road car park will be developed for housing and commercial, it is envisaged.

Green Lane and Pound Lane are other areas where there is plenty of  “underutilised rear residential gardens”. Sunnyhill, too, gets a mention in the unused land context.

The “sizeable” gardens in New Street would be developed as “a cohesive unit”, it is envisaged. This is, of course, language for a “new New Street” into the area south and adjoining Beech Road car park.

One thing interests me: with the plans for higher density within the town walls, as it were, what sort of heights are we really talking about? Heights like the Plaza? The Cathedral? The Beech Road apartments? The question of height provokes headaches in Killarney and there are real concerns about infill development. So any kind of gung-ho approach as appears in the new town plan about filling in here, there and everywhere on the basis of great need, warrants very careful scrutiny, it seems to me.

Already a situation is developing where Kerry County Council have opened an enforcement file on the two-storey mews building underway at the back of the West End, one of the town’s oldest buildings. New Street residents complained that windows are going in at the eastern side where they should not go in in the apartment development and will overlook their gardens and privacy and deprive them of light.  A warning letter has been issued from the council to the applicants.

And let's face it, this town has not distinguished itself in the development allowed in many of the old lanes.

Back to the draft plan. In the middle of it all, the horseshoe bat gets prime mention in the plan. I can’t understand the horseshoe bat’s import… and have to digress a bit here again. The lesser horseshoe bat gets a whole page to himself. I blinked a bit here. Is this about the jarvey horses and my bad eyesight? No, the lesser horsehoe bat.

Actually, he is actually in good condition we are told. Great! However, he could be disturbed by artificial lighting. Okay! Right!

On a morning where deer - also protected - are hopping in front of motorists and taking up car parking spaces in Beech Road, I would have thought they deserved a mention in a draft plan for their impact on the town, if only to protect humans?

But away from the deer and the bats. If I were a resident of Green and Pound Lanes and Lower New Street, and maybe Sunnyhill, I would be watching my little back garden roost like the proverbial hawk.

Submissions can be made until June 15.

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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Teens theory is a national winner

Watch out Dallas as three local students are ready to take their science theory and blow the competition out of the water. Liam Waldron, Rachel Griffin and Luke O’Sullivan, Sixth […]

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Watch out Dallas as three local students are ready to take their science theory and blow the competition out of the water.

Liam Waldron, Rachel Griffin and Luke O’Sullivan, Sixth Year students from Killarney Community College, were named SciFest STEM Champions 2022 for their Group Theoretic Approach to Pythagoras’ Theorem.

The national finals of SciFest Ireland were held at the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin last Friday and they were attended by finalists from across Ireland.

The amazing trio will now go on to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF) which will be held in Dallas, Texas in May 2023.

The students secured their place at the national final after they won the overall prize at the SciFest regional competition at MTU Kerry in May this year.

Their project takes possibly one of the most well-known theorems that everyone remembers from school, Pythagoras’ Theorem. It provides an alternate proof of it, while also highlighting how right-angled triangles naturally provide a link between two coordinate systems and how this special case can naturally recreate the Pythagorean Theorem.

Supported by Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific, SciFest was set up 17 years ago by Sheila Porter and her husband George.

It is the largest, most inclusive STEM fair programme for second-level students in Ireland.

“The aim of SciFest has always been to develop a love of STEM and of inquiry-based learning and every year it is refreshing to see how the students of today continue to love and enjoy immersing themselves in science, technology, engineering and maths,” Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said.

“As SciFest grows each year, we grow more excited to see what new experiments and technologies are thought of and created. This year, students have shown incredible innovation in how STEM can make a positive impact on society, with initiatives in farming, space exploration and healthcare.”

Each year SciFest awards a ‘Teacher of Excellence’ and this year Máire Spillane was the recipient for her work with Luke, Rachel and Liam. She accompanied them to both finals and could not be prouder of this huge achievement at national level.

Killarney Community College held a whole school assembly to congratulate the SciFest champions in school and the SciFest STEM Champions 2022 were met with rapturous applause from all students and staff.

Ms Spillane spoke about the importance of STEM subjects and acknowledged the fact that Killarney Community College offers all students the opportunity to study all four of the disciplines, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and how our students are encouraged to submit projects every year into SciFest. It may be a competition run by science teachers, but in KCC cross-curricular co-operation by teachers of all subjects, is practiced on a daily basis.

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