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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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Killarney girl has an important part to play in Rose Festival

By Michelle Crean A little Killarney girl has had her dreams come true after being selected as a Rose Bud in this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival. Chloe Nott […]

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By Michelle Crean

A little Killarney girl has had her dreams come true after being selected as a Rose Bud in this year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Chloe Nott (7) from Fossa was thrilled to find out that she has been paired with Arizona Rose Sophie Owen.

She’s now super excited as the Festival kicks off tonight (Friday) and is looking forward to being part of the big parades which attract thousands to the streets of Tralee tomorrow (Saturday) and again on Sunday.

“We found out about three weeks ago, she was picked from hundreds from all around the country,” Chloe’s mom Gemma told the Killarney Advertiser.

Last Saturday the Rose Buds came together for the first time in the Meadowlands Hotel in Tralee where they met the Kerry Rose Édaein O’Connell and received their sashes.

Tonight (Friday) they’ll enjoy a party in the Meadowlands and have a busy weekend meeting and greeting people when they take part in the Festival’s activities including a trip to the Kingdom Greyhound Stadium.

“I’m so excited to meet my Arizona Rose,” Chloe, who is going into Second Class in Fossa National School, said.

Gemma and her husband Eric and son Luke (9) went to Reidys in Killarney to tell Chloe the exciting news.

“My mom gave me a rose and told me I was a Rose Bud. After she told me I was bursting with excitement.”

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Killarney Races celebrates 200 years

Killarney Races celebrated 200 years of racing yesterday during the opening day of AugustFest, an exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival that will run until tomorrow (Saturday) inclusive. Kerry Senior Football Captain […]

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Killarney Races celebrated 200 years of racing yesterday during the opening day of AugustFest, an exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival that will run until tomorrow (Saturday) inclusive.

Kerry Senior Football Captain Sean O’Shea, with a host of fellow teammates and back-room staff, escorted Sam Maguire to the racecourse arriving by jaunting cart to take part in the bi-centenary celebrations.

Racegoers of all ages were thrilled to get up close with the Sam Maguire Cup and our fantastic Kerry football legends.

AugustFest at Killarney Races offers patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse. A special bi-centenary admission package was available on the opening day offering patrons admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20 which went down a treat with punters. With many bringing their jerseys and cameras along to make the most of the double celebrations at the Kerry track.

The first race at Killarney Racecourse was recorded in 1822. In the early days, the meetings were supported by Lord Clanmorris and the Earl of Kenmare, the feature race being the Kenmare Stakes from 1826 to 1830. The current racing venue located at Ross Road held its first race meeting on 20 July 1936 and Ontario was the first ever winner at the track, winning the 1½ mile handicap hurdle, in the hands of jockey Willie O’ Grady.

During the August racing festival, a special commemorative marquee featuring a wonderful collection of memorabilia and photographs from the last 200 years is open to all in attendance for the duration of the festival.

“We celebrated a major milestone here at Killarney Races, two hundred years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations during AugustFest!

With two more fantastic days of racing in store and lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Patrons are advised to book online and come along early to enjoy the stunning views, facilities, delicious food, live music on the lawn and soak up the boutique festival atmosphere for which Killarney Races is famous.

Adult tickets and packages are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the punter’s pack is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options. For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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