The Port of Cork buildings will be “destroyed” by a skyscraper set to be built on the site and a better use for the buildings would be to establish a maritime museum, according to Cobh-based artist John Adams.
It was announced last year that the site had been purchased by New York-based Irish developers Kevin and Donal O'Sullivan with plans for a €100m development including the possibility of a 40-storey skyscraper in the three-acre area which contains the historic Port of Cork buildings.
The development is set to include office space and a hotel.
The Port of Cork buildings are over 200 years old having been constructed during the Napoleonic Wars by the prisoners of Spike Island.
While there are no plans to knock the protected buildings, Mr Adams believes modern developments will distract from the heritage of the site.
He has started a petition to stop the development which has already garnered over 1,000 signatures. He plans to present it to Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald in the coming weeks.
“It's not only the skyscraper, it's the plans they have for the old buildings,” Mr Adams said.
“The artist's impressions that they put out completely obliterate the buildings. It looks like they are actually building over them so you can't even see them.
“To me, the Port of Cork buildings are the most important in the city. The history behind them is important and the beautiful stonework on them is unbelievably beautiful. There's no appreciation for that kind of stuff in the city,” he added.
Mr Adams, who ran in the General Election in 2010 for a seat in Cork North Central, believes the site should never have been sold to a private developer and should have been earmarked for tourism projects.
“Navigation House was recently knocked down, as was Camden Palace. All they did was preserve the front wall, which is not preserving a building at all,” he said.
“There are very few old buildings that deserve to be kept with the quality of the Port of Cork buildings. The location is key. This is such a strategically important location and the possibilities are amazing.
“Tourism is something Cork needs very badly and there are very few things to bring people into the city.
“A world-class maritime museum would be a huge bonus for Cork city.
“All I hear from Cork City Council is we haven't got the funding, well the European Parliament is giving out funding for these sort of projects all the time,” he added.