A ROW over netting at a training pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh has been settled by City Hall planners.
Cork City Council has granted retention permission for permanent ball nets at the all-weather pitch at the redeveloped stadium.
The Cork County Board had applied for retention of the nets but local residents had objected claiming the nets were visually intrusive and would cause disturbances to bird and bat species.
Objectors argued retractable netting would be better to allow the nets to be taken down when the pitch was not in use but planning consultants said public safety could not be ensured if semi-permanent nets were in place.
The county board had said the pitch was in use for over 900 hours in 2018 and a planning statement carried out by town planning consultants Coakley O’Neill stated the nets were not obtrusive or disruptive to nature. “The overall visual impacts of the ball stop netting is not considered significant or detrimental to the visual amenities of the area,” the report stated.
The report added retractable netting is not as reliable as permanent netting as some teams may not pull the nets into place before use and it could not be ensured the netting would be in place during training and games and public safety could be compromised.
One resident had objected on the basis that the permanent netting is “visually obtrusive” and argued that retractable nets should be used instead. They said figures quoted by the GAA would suggest the pitch is not in use for 21 hours a day and the nets need not be in situ for all of the day.
They said the pitch had been of little benefit to the local community and enquiries from local clubs to use the pitch had gone unanswered from the county board.
They said the use of Monahan Road as a carpark and through road for events at the stadium raised questions about regard for the local public realm.
Another objector claimed the nets interfere with flight paths of swans, mallard ducks, herons and egrets. However, the report found there were no migratory paths associated with the sight and the area is not an established feed site for birds.
The City Hall decision will result in the modification of condition number 11 of An Bord Pleanala permission granted for the stadium under appeal in 2014 which stated that the mesh perimeter fencing to the all-weather pitch should be retracted when not in use.