RESIDENTS near Cork University Hospital have raised safety concerns around the proposed helipad for the hospital, citing the example of a recent helicopter crash at Leicester City Football Club.
Three objections have been lodged with Cork City Council, opposing the proposed helipad, which has been described by CUH chief executive Tony McNamara as a “critical piece” of infrastructure. Mr McNamara told the Evening Echo that he hopes construction on the new helipad will begin in early 2019.
The planning application for the new helipad, which was lodged with City Hall earlier this month, shows the new helipad will be constructed on the staff car park at the northeast corner of the hospital grounds.
The planning notice confirmed the development would include a new two-storey staff car park, to replace the 164 spaces lost as a result of the helipad construction.
“We have major concerns regarding the operational safety of helicopters in close proximity to our home, especially in light of accidents such as the Leicester City FC AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter crash,” said one objection, from residents in the Copper Beeches area.
“Helicopters are intrinsically unstable flying machines and we need credible assurance that flight operations will not present a significant risk to us,” they added.
On October 27, an AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter crashed shortly after take-off from the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
All five people on board – the pilot and four passengers, including club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – were killed.
Another objection from the Laburnum/Wilton Residents said the development will injure the use and enjoyment of their homes and surrounding areas, and will also impact the price of their homes.
Their planning objection claimed the design statement for the helipad was inadequate, lacking detailed information on the proposed “acoustic barriers”.
“There is absolutely no reference, specification or description made of such acoustic barriers, subsequently in the report, or demonstration of some or any drawings submitted.”
The objection also raises concerns regarding the lack of evidence on the possible noise of a helicopter landing at and taking off from CUH.
The planning documents cites a study at University Hospital Galway which was carried out in 2016 and took measurements at 100 metres away.
“This comparison is totally inappropriate and does not allow any comparative assessment to be carried out,” according to the residents association.
“It is worth recalling that the most immediate adjacent residential properties are less than 17 metres from the helipad.”
Another resident raised concerns in an objection claiming the proposed multi-storey car park will overlook their residence and impact on the privacy of their family home.