Housing and Population

2.1       Housing and Population

2.2.1     Population Growth

The population of Piltown has increased steadily from its lowest level of 418 in 1966 to its highest level of 968 in 2006.  Table 1 lists the population of Piltown for the census periods from 1961 to 2006.

Table 1: Census of Population of Piltown 1961 – 2002

Year Population
1961 449
1966 418
1971 456
1979 605
1981 634
1986 691
1991 717
1996 716
2002 778
2006 968

A number of multi-units residential developments have been recently constructed– namely Banagher Court, Belline Vale and Clonmore Hall; some of these units within Banahger Court have been included within the census, but most of the units have not (source: Council’s report sent to DoEHLG for housing completions 2005-2009).

From 2002 to 2006 the population of the town increased by 24%.  It is estimated that the current 2010 population of Piltown is 1354, an increase of 386 persons, approximately 40% since 2006 – this assumes an average household size in Kilkenny of 2.88 (as per the 2006 Census data vol. 3 Household Composition, Family units and Fertility).

It is evident that the population of Piltown has substantially increased since 2002, with several multi-unit residential developments being constructed in the town.

2.1.2     Development Strategy

Overall the population of County Kilkenny increased by approx. 8.8% between 2002 and 2006, and nationally by 8.1% as per the Census results.  The Draft Regional Planning Guidelines for the South-East Region 2010-2022 have set revised and reduced population targets for the region and its constituent counties, with a lower rate of growth than envisaged by the guidelines published in 2004.  The settlement strategy for the county must take account of these figures.

Having regard to a number of factors, including (a) the 74% increase in population in Piltown since 2002, (b) the revised population projections for Kilkenny as per the Draft Regional Planning Guidelines for the South-East Region 2010-2022, (c) the designation of Piltown as a ‘Small Town/ Village’ within the Council’s settlement hierarchy, (d) the character of the town, and (e) infrastructure deficiencies, it is considered reasonable in the current context, to cater for a low level of growth over the period of this plan.

However in order not to stifle the growth of the town, provision is made for a natural increase in population during the life of this plan. The rate of natural increase (number of births minus the number of deaths, not taking account of migration) of the population in Ireland was 9.8 per 1000 in 2007 (Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2008, CSO), or 0.98%; rounding this up to 1% per year, and extending for a six year period, would result in a 6% population growth.

A natural increase of 6% of the current 1354 population, assuming an average household size of 2.88, equates to 28 additional dwellings over the life of the plan.

Applying a density of 20 units per hectare (8 per acre) , having regard to the Guidelines for Planning Authorities – Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (Cities, Towns and Villages – published May 2009, an area of 1.4 hectares is required for development over the life of this plan.  It should be noted that permission exists in the town for a total of 63 units, which are yet to be completed, and that a number of units, mainly in new developments, remain vacant.

To comply with the Government Guidelines on Development Plans, this land requirement has been increased by 50%, which equates to approximately 2.1 hectares.

An area of 2.5 hectares, adjacent to Clonmore Hall, which has three existing permissions for 56 residential units is proposed in Phase 1 Residential Development.  The remainder of the greenfield residential land has either been zoned for Phase 2 Residential Development, or has not been zoned for development in this proposed plan.

The site proposed for Phase 1 residential development has existing permissions, however opportunity exists for alternative layouts and designs and for potential for serviced sites.

The site zoned for Phase 1 residential uses is not the only area with potential for growth, there are areas within the ‘Existing and General Development’ lands which can cater for residential development, in addition several sites have been indicated on the zoning map with the potential for low density infill development.

Infill development will be encouraged in backland sites, where appropriate. In some cases site assembly may be required. Infill development will provide for some locational choice. Taken in conjunction with the level of extant permissions and unfinished/unoccupied housing, it is considered acceptable in these circumstances that only one area of land is identified for Phase 1 development.  The current proposals more than adequately cater for the projected natural growth for the village.

Phase 2 residential development, and will not be released during the lifetime of this plan; other previously zoned lands have not been zoned in the proposed plan having regard to the foregoing factors.  The future development of Piltown will be monitored on an ongoing basis.  This development strategy will provide for consolidation of development around the town and will support appropriate service expansion.

Three sites have been identified on the zoning objectives map as Infill Potential Lands within the ‘Existing and General Development Zones’; these are sites that are considered offer opportunities for low density development within the town.  On Tower Road – 1, to the south of Tower Road 1- 2, south of main street – there is an area of land here that subject to co-operation between land owners could be amalgamated to create a joined site for 6-8 dwellings.

The lands to the east of Centra have been designated as Phase 2 development, that is, lands that will not be released in the life of this plan.  However proposals within the life of this plan will be considered for a low-density of development in this area for 6-8 dwellings, subject to an landscaped open space area being created in this area to the satisfaction of the Council (with a reserved area for a playground) in line with the open space zoning objective in this area.

2.1.3     Housing Units

The housing stock in the village of Piltown has substantially increased since 2000.  It is the policy of the Council to strengthen and consolidate the towns and villages in the county.  It is important that there is a balance between the provision of higher and lower density developments.  Having regard to the recent levels of residential development, there is a need to provide an option for people to upsize and be able to build a house to their own design and layout on a larger site, yet within walking distance of amenities.  The Council will support lower density development on back-land sites, identified infill sites and undeveloped areas of land within the village to broaden the choice of dwelling types available, and also the development of serviced sites in the village.


  • HP1 – To ensure the controlled development of Piltown which reflects the character of the existing and historic village in terms of structure, pattern, scale, design and materials with adequate provision of open space, and which protects the amenities of existing dwellings.
  • HP2 – To zone an adequate amount of land for housing to provide a locational choice and allow for the probability that not all zoned land will be made available to development.

2.1.4     Character of Piltown & Integration of Development

Piltown has a distinctive character, which is largely derived from the mix of attractive vernacular buildings combined with a number of picturesque buildings of unique design and detail, including the bow-fronted Anthony’s Inn.  Any new development should take its proposed form from the town structure, and should innovate by reinterpretation – making it look new and local.

The unity and symmetry of these buildings, of which some are enhanced by a simple wooden porch, make them extremely attractive.  These dwellings are typically three bay and gable ended with wide based gables on the front with pitched roofs.  The roofs were traditionally of natural slate and are high pitched, single span with end stacks.  The use of simple, vertical proportions typically divided into three bays are an important feature in Piltown.

Front boundary walls, railings and front gates are also distinctive features in Piltown.  These boundaries vary from the simple to the ornate, but are most successful when simple.  One of the most effective is a low plastered wall.  The removal of these boundaries to allow for the front to be used for parking detracts from the streetscape.  The sense of order and enclosure is affected, and the parking of cars obscures the buildings and their amenity.

Varied roof lines are also characteristic of Piltown. Houses of one and two storey alternate and even amongst houses of two storeys there is often a difference in height.  This diversity in traditional buildings does not disrupt the harmony of the townscape because of the consistency in the other elements.  The variety of rooflines convey a feeling of diversity, but unity is provided by their common domestic scale and common characteristics.

Generally, the buildings in Piltown are of short span and have narrow end-gables although there are some notable exceptions to this, such as the Old Market House (Garda Station) and the old Post Office, now converted to domestic use.

  • HP3 – To ensure a high standard in design, layout, provision of open space, landscaping, variation in house type and provision for pedestrian and bicycle linkages to the town centre in new residential developments.  New developments shall have regard to the characteristics of the site and its setting, the pattern of development in the area and to the scale and amenities of existing adjacent development.
  • HP4 – Any new development should respect and reflect the existing scale and character of Piltown.

The use of brown field sites will be preferred and utilised where possible in order to improve the environmental character of the town.  The Council will encourage the sensitive conversion to suitable uses of historic structures, including old industrial buildings, whose original use has become redundant e.g. the creamery.

There are some fine stone walls at various locations throughout the town that contribute significantly to its character and are worthy of protection and restoration.  In particular the wall along the east side of Hill Crest Avenue is worthy of preservation.

The road connecting Piltown and Fiddown, which is a crucial link between the two inter-related settlements, currently remains predominately free of roadside development, and this maintains the identity and distinctiveness of both settlements. While both settlements have an interdependent relationship, they both retain their own distinctive identities which are strengthened by the rural character of the road linking them.  It is important to retain the rural character of this road to avoid a blurring of the character and identities of Fiddown and Piltown.

Any new developments in the town should take account of the existing scale and pattern of development in the area, and should demonstrate a high standard in design, layout, provision of open space and landscaping.  Developments should provide for pedestrian links with the town centre where possible.

It is not intended to prescribe maximum residential density standards and developments should accord with the standards set out in the County Development Plan; new developments should have regard to the characteristics of the site, the pattern of development in the area and to the scale and amenities of existing adjacent development and servicing requests.


  • HP5 – To ensure a high standard in design, layout, provision of open space, landscaping and provision for pedestrian linkages to the village centre in new residential developments.  New developments shall have regard to the characteristics of the site and its setting, the pattern of development in the area and to the scale and amenities of existing adjacent development.
  • HP6 – Any new development should respect and reflect the existing scale and character of Piltown.

In assessing any new development in Piltown, the Council may have regard to the development potential of adjoining land and will assess any application, with a view to providing for the development of these lands in an integrated manner.  This applies to any land parcel, and relates to all aspects of development including open space provision, access arrangements and pedestrian and cycle links.  The distinction between residential schemes should be maintained by the use of design and detailing, to give each its own distinct identity.

Piltown was a designated town under the Town Renewal Scheme 2000-2004, which encouraged investment in smaller towns throughout the country through tax relief on residential accommodation and for commercial property; 15 sites were designated in Piltown as eligible for incentives.

Questions to consider for Housing and Population

Do you agree with this approach, if so, why?

Do you disagree with this approach, if so, why?

What would you like to change?

Are there any other issues that you feel should be considered?

Please submit your answers to these questions  or  add your comments using the comment box below.

Please also indicate below whether you are making a comment or whether you are making a formal submission to the plan.

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