Planning permission has been refused to turn the former White Star Line pier into a major visitor attraction.
Cobh (Great Island) Historic Preservation Group appealed the planning application taken by Titanic Experience Ltd to construct a pay kiosk, spire and access from Cobh’s Kennedy Park to the Pier, also referred to as the ‘Titanic Pier’ or ‘Heartbreak Pier’.
Their appeal to An Bórd Pleanála was upheld.
A spokesperson for the group said that the decision was a vindication of their active opposition to the proposal over the past two years during which activists have held weekly information stalls in Cobh town centre and collected thousands of signatures from members of the public, including both local and international visitors.
“We are delighted that Bórd Pleanála has rejected this development which would have been seriously detrimental to the beautiful visual amenity of Cobh and its 150-year-old town park and could also have set a very worrying precedent for the possibility of further for-profit development in our town park.”
Several appeals had been lodged against the decision of Cork County Council to grant planning permission for a pedestrian walkway and viewing platform over the derelict pier, along the town’s waterfront.
Conservation work was also proposed for the pier itself, dubbed ‘Heartbreak Pier’ by locals in the 19th century, when it was the main embarkation point for 1 million emigrant passengers to the US, Canada, and Australia.
The €500,000 project, the brainchild of the owner of the Titanic Experience in Cobh, Gillen Joyce, originally entailed the erection of sail-style canopies over the structure, but these were subsequently removed and replaced with an 18m spire.
Cobh Historic Preservation Group rejected claims that their opposition to the planning application was in any way responsible for the deteriorating state of the former White Star Pier.
“Our objection was never to the restoration of this pier, but to the development of a for-profit access kiosk and walls inside the town park.”