Kerry County Council begins public consultation on future of iconic Tralee site
Kerry County Council has announced the first phase of public consultation on the future use of the Denny Bacon Factory site in Tralee, which was donated to the people of Tralee by Kerry Group in 2014. The Council has received €1.5m in EU funding for the regeneration of the historic site which has enormous and exciting potential for the wider revitalisation of Tralee.
The opening of consultation on the future of the ‘The Island of Geese’ – the historic name of that part of Tralee – coincides with the launch of a new website, www.theislandtralee.ie which will allow people to log on and submit ideas. Survey forms are also being made available at up to 20 locations around Tralee.
Over the next six weeks, members of the public will be able to propose ideas which will be used to form a master-plan for the 2.3 acre site, a minimum of 30% of which will be retained as a public amenity space. All responses will be examined by the Council as that master-plan is developed.
An on-site mobile unit has been opened inside the main entrance to the former factory which members of the public can visit over the coming weeks to discuss their proposals for maximising the economic, cultural, social and civic potential of the factory site.
A display of images of the plant recently compiled by Kerry County Council will also go on public display in the mobile unit and members of the public are welcome to visit to view the images.
Mayor of Tralee, Terry O’Brien said the location of the site so close to Tralee town centre means it has enormous potential: ‘This is the most exciting development for Tralee in many years. We must acknowledge the generosity of Kerry Group in donating the site to the people of Tralee in the first instance. It will be now be up to Kerry County Council, working closely with the people of Tralee, to rejuvenate and revitalise this historic and valuable location.’
‘The people of Tralee and the whole county are being given an unprecedented opportunity to have a direct input into what should be done with a site such as this. I would encourage anyone with an idea or a proposal to come forward and help to ensure the potential of this site is maximised,’ said Mayor O’Brien.
Director of Services with Kerry County Council, Michael Scannell said Kerry County Council has a very open mind about what should happen with the site: ‘We have an open door about this development. All projects such as this go through statutory consultation processes but ever before all of that happens, we are giving people this opportunity to have their say.
‘We are conscious that this site was donated to the people of Tralee. Essential to the future development of the site will be a sense of ownership of the site by the people of Tralee and by having this open consultation in an informal way, we hope that sense of buy-in and ownership can be achieved.’
Director of Corporate Affairs with Kerry Group, Frank Hayes said he was delighted to see the project advance to its next stage: ‘When Kerry Group handed over this strategically important site to the people of Tralee in 2014, we hoped that it would become a catalyst for the regeneration of the area. I am confident that this central location can become a wonderful asset for the people of the town in the years ahead and that its redevelopment will significantly enhance and revitalise Tralee town centre.’
Stephen Blair, Director of the Southern Regional Assembly, through which Kerry County Council secured €1.5m in EU funding, said: ‘On behalf of the Southern Regional Assembly, and as the Managing Authority for the Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020, we were delighted to award an ERDF grant earlier this year of €1.5 million to Kerry County Council under our Sustainable Urban Development Priority. The comprehensive redevelopment of this strategic site right in the heart of Tralee is precisely the type of sustainable urban renewal project the Assembly is seeking to support. We are therefore delighted to be associated with the launch of this ambitious project for Tralee, which will contribute greatly to revitalisation of this part of the town.’
History of the Denny site
The Island of Geese, the area on which the former Denny factory site is located, lies west of Tralee’s two historical settlements located around the Dominican friary and the 13th century Norman castle, and the area has long been a nucleus of trade, craft and industry. In an Ordnance Survey map dating from 1878, the area is identified as a “Pork Shambles”, “shambles” being an archaic term for a butcher-shop, testifying to the fact that pork-manufacturing was present on the site long before the establishment of Slattery’s Bacon Factory in 1922. 19thcentury maps also reveal industries as diverse as clay-pipe making and salt-extracting clustered around the historical pork shambles.
In 1943, Slattery’s Bacon Factory was purchased by the Denny Company. The plant employed up to 400 people at its peak. In 1982, it was acquired by Kerry Group. The factory closed in December 2008. In February 2014, Kerry Group director of Corporate Affairs, Frank Hayes, announced the company had decided to gift the site to the people of Tralee.
In 2015, Kerry County Council successfully applied to the Southern Regional Assembly for European Regional Development Funding (€1.5m – approximately 50% of the total cost of development) through the Designated Urban Centre Grant Scheme for a three-year programme of work for the development of The Old Denny Bacon Factory Site and the creation of a master-plan for the area of Tralee Town Centre West. Other work includes the upgrading of Bill Booley’s Lane, Bridge Lane and The Square.
Kerry County Council is now in the early stages of preparing a master-plan for Tralee Town Centre West which includes the Denny site. Its redevelopment is central to the regeneration of the entire area and the future of Tralee Town Centre as an economically vibrant, attractive, self sufficient town centre with a unique character and high quality of life.
The next steps:
Following the receipt of ideas and proposals from members of the public over the next six weeks, Kerry County Council will consider all submissions and will begin the formulation of a master-plan for the site which will be implemented over the coming years.