We were commissioned by Kilkenny County Council to prepare the Kilkenny County and City Development Plan Retail Strategy 2020. The Strategy will form part of the Kilkenny County Development Plan 2021-2027. The purpose of the Retail Strategy was to set out clear, evidence based objectives and policies in relation to retailing, in order to support competitiveness and choice whilst promoting the vitality and viability of town centres. The Strategy focussed on Kilkenny City as the primary retail destination within the County, however also considered retailing in the four district towns of Callan, Castlecomer, Graiguenamanagh and Thomastown, as well as Ferrybank.

Our Solutions

The Strategy was underpinned by empirical evidence in the form of a 550-sample shopper survey, as well as detailed health-checks and community and trader consultation. We undertook a series of health-checks for Kilkenny and the district towns, which considered a wide range of factors, such as a detailed breakdown of the composition of each centre between different types of retail and service uses, as well as a range of vitality and viability indicators including a consideration of attraction, accessibility and amenity.

We also undertook a highly successful consultation event in October 2019 with traders and other key stakeholders in Kilkenny City. The meeting was attended by over 60 interested parties and involved a presentation of findings, followed by a question and answers session with the stakeholders. The meeting was extremely helpful in sense-checking our empirical findings and health-checks of each centre.

The Outcome

The final Retail Strategy entailed detailed recommendations in respect of Kilkenny City as well as the district towns. The recommendations included place-based interventions as well as a set of broader strategic recommendations. We also prepared a complete set of draft retail objectives and policies for inclusion within the Kilkenny County and City Development Plan 2021-2027.