Wednesday, July 03, 2019

FOLLOWING on from Tramore, Ferrybank and the Dunmore Road, Waterford’s next major urban village is going to be Kilbarry, and it’s going to completely transform the area.

In the next five years (building has already commenced), the area will have over 1000 new houses, a 90-bed Nursing Home, a Medical Centre, a Crèche, a Leisure Village, two new schools, a multi-million euro office complex as well as an abundance of new cafes, restaurants and shops. Uniquely, the area will also have its own 20-acre Solar Farm, which will allow for some of the greenest, and most cost-efficient houses in the country.

Speaking to the Waterford News & Star this week, one of the architects working on the village, Niall Harrington, spoke about how Kilbarry will lead the way in high-quality affordable housing.

“The whole intent behind Kilbarry – and this thought process started 18 months ago – is sustainability,” Niall said.

“That word means different things to different people, but the big issue is affordability of housing. The cost of building houses is going up because they need to reach NZEB standard (Nearly Zero Energy Building), which adds a whole layer of additional cost. Rather than try to build houses cheaper, and inevitably lessen the standard, we looked at reducing the cost of running the house.”

The masterplan for the new houses in Kilbarry is to provide people with €250,000 houses, but with €200,000 mortgages.

“Currently, the average household spend on energy is somewhere between two to three ‘k’ per annum,” Niall said.

“If we can take that down to as close to zero as possible, it means that it saves that amount of money. Take that from their mortgage repayments, and you’ve got a significant reduction. We’re talking to one of the pillar banks at the moment about putting a Green Mortgage on the Kilbarry Houses, which will give you a discount on the mortgage due to the saved energy costs.”

This project is not unique to Europe but will be the first of its kind in Ireland. The Village will combine over 1000 houses with the Solar Farm to create a Solar Cooperative, which will allow all the residents of the new community become shareholders of a new power supply, which will power the houses, but also feed back into the power grid.

There are a number of companies involved in making the new Kilbarry green-dream a reality and the largest of them is Limerick-based Kilbarry Developments Ltd, one of whose directors – Martin White – was a development partner for Havenwood Retirement Village.

“There are a lot of people outside the city, who are seeing massive potential in Waterford, and Martin is just one of them,” said Niall Harrington.

“There’s a massive opportunity in Kilbarry now and it’s not only in the lap of in the investors to see where that can take us. Kilbarry Development Ltd’s investment in the project will trigger over €9 million in contributions to the local authority. Where will that money be spent and how can it further the potential of the area?”

The entire development and its environs has been unlocked by a €3.3million Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), which enabled a road (with auxiliary services) to be built from the Six Cross Roads roundabout to the Lacken Road.

Fine Gael Councillor John Cummins was instrumental in getting this funding delivered and told the Waterford News & Star that people will be surprised at what’s on the way for Kilbarry.

“There’s a general feeling right now that everything is coming, and on the horizon, but I can assure the people of Waterford now that this funding has been secured,” he said. “The local contractors have been appointed and the future for Kilbarry and the surrounding area is very exciting indeed.”

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