Tipperary local election candidate Garret Ahearn with Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy
Tipperary County Council received €2,897,000 from the first round of the Urban Regeneration and Development fund (URDF) last November.
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, who has responsibility for the implementation of the URDF, is expected to make an announcement on the second round of national funding in April.
However, Tipperary Live understands that approval is expected to be given to increase the total funding for the Clonmel project to almost €5 million.
Fine Gael local election candidate Garret Ahearn welcomes the news. “I have been in constant contact with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy regarding Kickham Barracks and the sports hub. I am very hopeful we will be successful when the announcement is made next month,” he says.
The projects include the transformation of Kickham Barracks from a military barracks site to a civic, cultural and educational centre, along with the development of a regional sports hub on the existing grounds of LIT. “These are projects which have planning permission approved and are ready to go. The news last November of Government funding was extremely welcomed and if Clonmel is successful again with additional funding it will be a huge win for the town.”
Proposals for the Kickham Barracks site include a new pedestrian plaza, central square, new streets, public car parks and development of additional access points which will encourage movement through and within the site, along with critical integration with the town centre. The regenerated Kickham Barracks will have access of 1,000 people, which will enliven the site, introduce third level education into the town centre, offer new opportunities to business and retail, and open a former enclosed and largely inaccessible site to the public, generating an urban regeneration site of significant scale.
The existing LIT campus on the Frank Drohan Road will be developed as a regional sports hub, providing shared facilities for clubs and schools, and addressing a deficit in the town. The regional sports hub will provide Clonmel with a competitive advantage in developing the town as a destination and venue for regional and national events, helping to grow, retain and attach families and investment to the area.
The link between the sports hub and Kickham Barracks is a key part of this vision as LIT currently occupies the site, with the delivery of one dependent upon the delivery of another.
The URDF has an overall allocation of €2 billion to 2027 and is the largest urban regeneration initiative in Ireland for decades, established to support more compact and sustainable development through the regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s cities and large towns in line with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.
“This project has the potential to develop Clonmel’s existing assets to their full potential, making Clonmel a more attractive place to live and visit. It will promote the population and economic growth required in order for it to achieve its full potential.
“It would not be possible without the support of the local community and in particular the local businesses and sports organisations that came on board. A lot of credit must also go to the executive of Tipperary County Council, led by their CEO Joe MacGrath.”