Just over three years after its closure, the first stage in the planning process to transform Kickham Barracks in Clonmel into a civic, cultural and educational centre was taken on Monday.
Members of Tipperary County Council unanimously approved a proposal to move to the Part 8 planning stage to put a master plan for the eleven acre site on public display.
It gave the green light to an ambitious project that is designed to have a massive impact on Clonmel and the county.
The specific planning process deals with the section of the site to be used by Tipperary County Council for the provision of a civic plaza which will be located at the southern end of the site facing the Mall and Davis Road.
Members were told that it was expected that the civic plaza, a section of which would have a covered space to accommodate events in all weathers, would start in 2016 if the planning process went smoothly.
In time this civic space would be encircled by a new regional garda station, an arts centre, military museum with a colonnade linking the civic area to the section of the site where LIT campus will be located, in the existing buildings at the main entrance on Davis Street, along with student accommodation.
The eleven acre site is divided between four stakeholders - Tipperary County Council, Garda Siochana, LIT and the Educational Training Board. The ETB infrastructure would be located at the northern end of the site.
Director of Services Sinead Carr said the council was ready to proceed with the civic area plan and that the other stakeholders would have to go about their own process concerning planing and funding issues.
She thanked the Oireachtas members for their support and Minister Tom Hayes for his role in arranging crucial meetings with government departments on the project.
Members of the Council were told that the master plan for the site, which involves the demolition of a considerable number of buildings and the preservation of important buildings and memorials, would now go on display.
A report would be made to the members on the process in September and then the Council would be ready to go to tender on the civic area.
County Council Chairman Michael Fitzgerald applauded all those involved in bringing the plan for the site to this stage. He was pleased that the plans allowed for the character, heritage and tradition associated with the site to be maintained.
“There was nobody in this council, or in the county, happy to see Kickham Barracks close and now people will welcome Kickham Barracks coming back to life again”, said the chairman.