PLANS to develop 1,000 apartments at the old Ford distribution site on Centre Park Road at Cork’s docklands have been met with a mixed reaction from city councillors.
Detailed plans for the development site have been published in recent days.
For a number of years, the Live at the Marquee concert series has been held at the site. The concert series is also expected to take place there from May until June of 2021.
The new plans have been devised by Kildare company Marina Quarter Limited and include the construction of 1,002 apartments — comprising a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bed apartments — in 12 blocks, ranging in height from four to 14 storeys.
The 1,002 homes are to be built on 5.97 hectares in the area, situated within the South Docks Development area, approximately 1.9km from Cork city centre.
Blocks 1 to 12 include commercial and community facilities, including the provision of five retail units, one montessori school, one creche, a medical centre, bar, café, venue/ performance area, and two community resource spaces.
An application has now been lodged with An Bord Pleanála for the strategic housing development which can be decided on by the planning board as it exceeds a development of 100 homes and, therefore, does not have to go through the local authority for planning permission.
The application is for a 10-year planning permission period.
An environmental impact assessment report has been prepared in respect of the proposed development and accompanies the application.
Fine Gael Councillor Des Cahill said he was delighted to see the application but was concerned the developer would struggle to build the project with current construction costs and said the apartments might not be affordable for people.
In contrast, Independent Councillor Kieran McCarthy said he had a number of concerns about the project including a lack of green space and public realm, overdensity, and potential traffic congestion.
Mr Cahill said the city was crying out for apartments and he would not be too concerned with the current plans as it would be tweaked and changed as it goes through the planning process, but Mr McCarthy said he was “uninspired and unimpressed” with the architecture of the development and would be making a submission to An Bord Pleanála outlining his numerous concerns.
Mr Cahill said the project has to be high spec and high density. “You can’t go building semi-detached houses in the city centre,” Mr Cahill said.
Mr McCarthy said the landscape layout and design was not “jumping out at him” and said while he acknowledged the area needed to be developed and the developer has obviously put a great deal of time and money into the project, he thought the project was out of sorts with what the city needed.
“I am conscious that there is a city development plan in the works with the city council and I feel this project is premature. There is a new master plan coming and there are developments being proposed before the plan, that are haphazardly being put to An Bord Pleanála.”
Plans for the development have been published online here.