A MAJOR housing and retail project in Passage West has been given planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.
Clyda Eco Homes Ltd was granted permission by Cork County Council in November to revamp the former St Mary’s Convent site into housing and commercial space. The site is seen as crucial to the regeneration of the town alongside the dockyard site.
However, three appeals, one by the developers themselves, were lodged at the convent site and the case was referred to An Bord Pleanála.
Clyda Eco Homes objected to a condition in the planning that requires them to make a €100,000 special planning contribution for pedestrian crossings and traffic calming in the town. The other appeals relate to boundary and land ownership concerns.
The developer has plans to demolish the former school buildings and outbuildings and build 18 apartments and 18 semi-detached houses on the convent grounds with an entrance to the south of the site on what is known locally as the Back Road to the town’s Main Street.
The company also wants to build a gym over two floors, retail units, offices and 17 further apartments at Chapel Square.
Local Councillor Marcia D’Alton described the permission as a “successful step towards bringing new life to the town” but cautioned that other details will have to be ironed out before there is more progress.
She added: “There is still much water to go under the bridge before we see action on the site but this is a very positive step in the right direction.” The news is a welcome boost for the area of Passage West after its dockyard - which local representatives had long been eyeing as a key regeneration site - was taken off the private market due to uncertainty over Brexit and the Irish shipping industry.
Cork County Council had been granted €1.9m from the Government last November to buy the docks from the Doyle Shipping Group for a regeneration scheme that would see the docks become a modern waterfront settlement overlooking the harbour.