A decision is due this week on the planning application for a major overhaul of Wilton Shopping Centre.
The application by developers Montlake QIAF Platform IC York Property Fund II attracted close to a dozen submissions, including objections from both the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
The NTA says it has ‘serious concerns’ about the application. In its submission, it said there are plans for major development of the bus network in Cork and these plans will involve the Sarsfield and Wilton roundabout.
The transport authority said the development as it is planned does not set buildings far enough back from the road to allow for additional bus lanes. It also raised concerns about parking and access for cars and about provision for pedestrians and cyclists.
The TII also raised concerns about parking, saying the development appeared to have ‘an over-provision of parking spaces’ and promoted high levels of car dependency. It said this could have knockon effects on the ‘safety and efficiency of the N40 corridor’.
The development includes the demolition of the current Penney’s site and the construction of an extension to the existing centre, ranging in height from two to seven stories. The plans include a 14-screen cinema, 90-bedroom hotel and a six-level, 874-space car park.
A submission on behalf of Tesco said it was important that the development not impact on existing businesses in the centre, while the Wilton Traders Association is concerned that the proposals will impact on the existing small units.
The Reel Picture cinema in Ballincollig has said the construction of a cinema at that locations would put its own viability in doubt.
There were also a number of objections from residential groups and individual residents, raising concerns about traffic. Residents have said earlier this year that they already face ‘six to eight hours’ of congestion on Wilton road each day, with fear the situation could get even worse if the expanded shopping centre gets the go-ahead.
In support of the development, both the Cork Business Association (CBA) and the nearby SMA church wrote to point out the positives.
SMA Wilton said the additional facilities were welcome and the ‘public realm facilities have carefully considered the importance of the church to the district centre’.
The CBA said the development would be a positive addition to Cork City’s offering, with the new hotel close to Cork University Hospital particularly welcome.
A decision on the application is due by Thursday.