The agreed sale of Kickham Barracks to South Tipperary County Council has been hailed as a massive opportunity for Clonmel.
The sale, given the green light by the Department of Defence with contracts due to be signed in the coming weeks, has been described as being just as important a strategic purchase as the Ballingarrne site by the same authority thirteen years ago.
Town Manager Sinead Carr said the site represented a significant opportunity for the town and when developed would bring huge value to the town.
It means that the vacated barracks will not go derelict as has happened in other towns and because the County Council has purchased the entire site there will be no piecemeal development.
Proposals for the site include a new build divisional garda station on the Dillon Street side, Education and Training Board (formerly VEC) offices and LIT Tipperary’s plan for the creation of a multi media hub.
Ms Carr said that the development of a cultural quarter, a civic area to hold celebrations and public events and a theatre/performance facility, was an integral part of the plan for the site - “a quality urban space”.
“We would like to develop easy public access in and out of the site, it will link the town centre with the Showgrounds development,” she said.
A masterplan is being prepared and relevant sections of the site will be handed over to various staekeholders for them to take on their specific projects.
LIT Tipperary will use the main building located to the front of the site at the main entrance on the Waterford Road as their headquarters and it is hoped that the site will cater for up to four hundred students in time.
“We can move to the next stage very quickly now, the papers and contracts can be signed soon and a detailed master plan drawn up. Hopefully by mid 2015 we will be able to hand over the sites to stakeholders for them to proceed” she said.
Minister of State Tom Hayes, who announced the approval, said the County Council can now go ahead with its ambitious plans for the site,
“I look forward to seeing the transformation and revival of the former barracks site which will encompass many facets of Clonmel society.’ he said.