Preparation of the Local Area Plan for the historic core of the City consisted of striking a balance between preserving its architectural and archaeological heritage whilst enhancing the quality of life for its residents.

The plan area comprises an area of irregular shape of 95Ha (235 acres) containing the historic, built up centre of Kilkenny City centred around the retail core of High Street and a stretch of the River Nore that takes in Kilkenny's most noteworthy buildings and structures, such as Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House and St. Canice's Cathedral, St John's Priory, Shee Alms House.  The urban design strategy is focussed on the redevelopment of twelve key sites and the links between them to foster city wide improvements.