Wednesday, October 27, 2021

An artist’s impression of the new residential scheme planned for Athy town centre

A 32-UNIT residential development on a brownfield site in the heart of Athy is set to bring life back to the town centre.

Planning permission for the scheme was issued to local entrepreneurs, Tim Flood and Niall Langton of Alfa Developments & Retail Ltd last week.

The development site known as Nelson’s Yard, is bounded by Leinster Street to the front and Mount Hawkins to the rear. The proposed housing development will comprise a mixture of townhouses, apartments and duplex units set around a new landscaped square. The project was designed by Athy-based, Dooley Cummins Architects + Engineers.

This planning decision represents one of the first large scale schemes to be decided on by the planning authority since the adoption of the Athy Local Area Plan 2021-2027 last month.

This document sets out several strategic development principles including a focus on new development within an 800m radius i.e., a ten-minute walk of Emily Square, improved linkages through the town and the provision of housing that will contribute to improving quality of life in the town.

This is intended not just in terms of wellbeing, but also in terms of creating a sense of place and local identity.

Speaking about their development Tim Flood said: “The scheme represents a high density with the equivalent of 90 units or 250 people per hectare although every townhouse and apartment unit will have its own front door with either a south or west facing terrace or balcony.

“Every home will overlook the central landscaped courtyard. A lot of credit is due to our design team for addressing the many challenges of the site which included archaeology, Protected Structures, and ecological considerations while delivering such a high-quality solution which ticked the boxes of the new Local Area Plan.

Niall Langton added:” As developers, we are committed to reinvigorating the town and making the most of its rich heritage. The Protected Structure on the site, the former Angler’s Rest, has long been an eyesore when entering Athy town. This building will now be sensitively conserved to accommodate two apartment units and a restored carriageway to provide pedestrian access to the internal landscaped area and linkage through to Mount Hawkins.

The scheme’s designer, Dooley Cummins Architects + Engineers Ltd., is the recently merged entity of two long-established local firms, Cormac Dooley Consulting Engineers and Vivian Cummins Architects. The firm specialises in one-off homes and multi-unit housing schemes.

Cormac Dooley concluded: “During a housing shortage, it is incumbent on all stakeholders to support the provision of additional housing, but it is also crucial if our towns are to survive, that we need people living in them. This scheme has the potential to meet these objectives”.

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