Green light for €85m event centre - but court battle still ahead 

Green light for €85m event centre - but court battle still ahead 

An Bord Pleanala has ruled the development on the former Beamish and Crawford site should proceed, with 19 conditions attached.

More than four years after the sod was turned on the event centre in Cork, it has finally been given the go-ahead from An Bord Pleanála.

However, the €85m project is still a long way from any construction getting under way at the site, with a legal process ongoing.

Cork City Council granted permission for this specific development, which was larger and much more expensive than the original design, back in October 2019.

A single, hand-delivered, third-party appeal was lodged with An Bord Pleanála, just moments before the deadline in November, and was made on the grounds of commercial over-development in the historic core of Cork City, which the appellant believes is an area that should be developed primarily for tourism.

The individual said they are in favour of the development, but believes the revised designs submitted by developers Bam are not good enough, and the city deserves better.

However, An Bord Pleanala has ruled the development on the former Beamish and Crawford site should proceed, with 19 conditions attached.

The planning appeals board have said in their ruling that the events centre would adhere to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

They look at the “zoning objectives of the site, the historic nature and use of the site and the pattern of development in the immediate vicinity of the site.” It was decided that the proposed development “would not seriously injure the amenities of the area and would be acceptable in terms of archaeological protection and traffic safety.” A number of conditions have been attached to the granting of permission, including that the centre itself would not become operational prior to the pedestrian bridges between the site and French’s Quay and Crosse’s Green Quay becoming operational.

All of the finishes for the development including to the public areas such as bridges or quay walls must be submitted to the planning authority before the development can commence, while the hours of operation of the ticket office in the new events centre must also be agreed upon with Cork City Council prior to commencement.

The developers, Bam, had also appealed an aspect of their planning conditions to An Bord Pleanala, relating to financial contributions.

They claimed that any work assessed and incorporated into the General Development Contribution Scheme could not be subject to a Special Development Contribution.

They said that the contribution requested for the Crosse’s Green pedestrian/cycle bridge, or the Lamley’s Lane approach street could not be charged due to being part of the City’s development plan for many years.

However, one of the conditions stipulated by An Bord Pleanala states that the developer must pay a financial contribution to the planning authority “in respect of the provision of two pedestrian bridge crossings from the site to French’s Quay and Crosse’s Green and public realm improvements at the western landings of both bridges and on South Main Street.” The developers and the planning authority must agree on the amount, and if they cannot do so, it will be set out by An Bord Pleanla.

Despite the centre getting the green light, no development can take place as of yet, as the project is tied up in a High Court judicial review.

Gleneagle Hotel (Killarney) Ltd, who also operate the INEC entertainment venue in Killarney took the case against Cork City Council.

The issue in question is the decision-making process of granting €50m to the project from the Government.

The project cannot move forward until the High Court process is complete. The case will be back before the courts in May.

More in this section

Sponsored Content