Developers BAM will have to pay almost €2.4 million in contributions prior to the construction of the Cork Events Centre, according to planning permission documents from City Hall.
Almost €1.7 million is to be paid towards the costs of installing two pedestrian bridges from the events centre site to French’s Quay and Crosse’s Green, as well as improvement works at the landings of both bridges and on South Main Street.
The planning authority said it will refund the contribution if this project is not commenced within five years and completed within seven years of the payment date.
Meanwhile, BAM will also have to pay more than €700,000 in contributions towards the General Development Contribution Scheme 2018 - 2021, which was adopted by Cork City Council in July, 2018.
The 6,000-capacity concert and conference venue proposal from construction company Bam was given the approval by City Hall planners last week, but that planning approval is subject to 48 conditions, including the two planning contributions totalling almost €2.4 million.
City Hall also told BAM that the events centre should not be opened until the bridge works between the former Beamish and Crawford brewery and French’s Quay, and from the brewery site to Crosse’s Quay, are fully completed and the bridges are operational.
If the centre opens prior to these works completed, City Hall said that BAM must put measures in place to ensure pedestrian traffic and attendance at the centre is limited so it can be “safely managed” using existing or approved temporary measures.
In the planning documents, City Hall said any such temporary measures would have to be signed off on by the planning authority.
Another condition set out by city planners said that detailed proposals from a qualified ecologist for the inclusion of bat and bird boxes, as well as resting areas for otters along the quay walls, must be agreed prior to construction.
City planners also said that detailed drawings to show the provision of 450 “high quality, covered” parking facilities and a disabled set-down vehicle space must be submitted and approved before any construction can commence.
They also told BAM that a construction traffic management plan must be agreed with Cork City Council and the Gardai before work commences.
City Hall’s decision to grant planning permission could be appealed to An Bord Pleanála, which could further delay the project by a number of months.
However, construction can commence on the long-stalled project, provided there is no appeal of the decision within the next three weeks.
BAM themselves or any party who made a submission or objection to the application have the right to appeal the Council’s decision.
An Bord Pleanála has an objective to decide any appeal within 18 weeks.
However, this can often take longer, particularly with large developments.
Last August, BAM had lodged fresh plans for an events centre, revising the plans that were in place since 2012.
In October, planners asked them to modify their new proposal as they had a “serious concerns” about the extent of “dead frontage” arising from the lack of live uses on South Main St.
In July of this year, Bam revised their proposal, as requested, and included a ticket office on the southern side of the building and street-level LED screens amongst other changes.
It was expected that decision from planners in City Hall would be made during the summer, but they made another request at the end of July asking Bam to supply a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) assessing what impact the development could have on conservation areas in Cork Harbour.
Bam supplied the required NIS at the end of August, and City Hall has now granted permission for the development.
The state is pledging €30m towards the €80m+ events centre project, which is seen as a key element of Cork’s future economy attracting major concerts and conferences to the city.