HERITAGE body An Taisce said they cannot support the revised Events Centre proposal for the former Beamish brewery site saying the new design is “most unsatisfactory.”
The developers of the centre, BAM submitted an amended planning application for the site last month. It includes an additional 2,176 square metres of office space, fronting onto South Main Street, as well as a slightly larger events centre complex.
Artists’ impressions of the development, included in the planning application, show this element of the plan encroaching right on to the South Gate Bridge, the 18th-century structure which was also once the site of a gaol house complete with a dungeon.
In a submission lodged last week, An Taisce said that the original planning decision in 2011 had addressed their concerns on the design of the events centre, and and that the precise height of the block next to the South Gate Bridge was specified.
“The present application has changed this scenario in a very unsatisfactory manner. The new proposal is for a considerably bulkier building, the service area of which will now front directly onto the South Main Street.
"This is a very unsatisfactory treatment of the streetscape.
“Finally, the generic glazed treatment of the building at the south-east corner of the site next to the bridge makes no attempt to address the historic south gate approach into the city centre with a structure of appropriate scale and dignity.”
Paul Montgomery, who operates a number of Cork entertainment venues also made a submission saying he was fully supportive of the events centre but raised a concern about the level of connectivity to Washington Street and the “Hanover Quarter” area.
He asked the Council to “encourage the Promoter to better integrate the overall proposal with the surrounding urban fabric, in particular addressing the lack of “desire line” pedestrian linkages to the busy night-time hub to the south of the site.”
Cork Chamber made a submission in support of the application.
They said the events centre would add vibrancy to the city by energising the unused site and said the jobs which will be created from the development would be significant to the surrounding economy.
A planning decision from Cork City Council is expected on October 4 and if given the go-ahead it is hoped that construction of the long-awaited project could begin by the end of the year.
The Government is currently awaiting legal advice on the State increasing its contribution towards the events centre from €20m to €30m.
However, if any individual or group who made a submission to the City Council on the current application have the option of appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
If such an appeal is made then it would further delay the start of the project by at least four months.