AN Bord Pleanála has overturned planning permission for a waste transfer and recycling facility in Little Island bringing a long-running saga to a conclusion.
In February 2020, Cork County Council gave the go-ahead to Country Clean Recycling Unlimited Company for a waste transfer and recycling facility at Courtstown Industrial Estate, Courtstown, Little Island, subject to 33 conditions.
A significant number of issues were however raised by residents, locals and businesses in the area during the initial planning process. These issues included environmental impacts, odour, traffic volumes and the close proximity of the proposed facility to local businesses and residential areas.
The main reasons An Bord Pleanála has overturned the planning permission are 1: The proposed development would contravene the Cork County Development Plan 2014 which precludes the location of such facilities as proposed in infill sites within areas already developed for small to medium-sized industry warehousing and distribution.
2: The proposed development would undermine the objectives of the Cobh Municipal District Local Area Plan 2017 Section 3.1.5 and 3.1.6 which establish Little Island as a principal location for future investment in housing, jobs, infrastructure, social and community facilities.
3: The Environmental Impact Assessment Report does not comply with the requirements of Article 94 and Schedule 6 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 as amended, due to a failure to adequately consider alternative sites and the inadequacy of the environmental criteria used to determine the selection of the proposed site.
4: The proposed development, notwithstanding the proposed 20 metres buffer zone, would prejudice the achievement of the objectives of the Cobh Municipal District Local Area Plan 2017 for lands zoned LI-X-02 ‘for medium density residential and mixed-use development, which is intended to accommodate up to 250 residential units’.
Alison Ryan, chair of the Environmental and Planning group which is a subgroup of the Little Island Community Association said the news was a ‘brilliant win for the community’.
“We are delighted. Everyone is buzzing. The country is opening up and we have won our appeal. It is a great start to the long weekend,” she said.
Ms Ryan paid tribute to the ‘resilience’ and ‘unity’ displayed by all the residents and businesses in their local community.
“We brought everyone in the community with us on this journey. We explained it to them as we went along. The residents were brilliant.
“This shows that people can make a difference when they work together. We have received great support from the political representatives. Cork North Central TD Padraig O’Sullivan was a huge help especially with regards to breaking down the Development Plan.
"If this decision had gone against us, we would have had to try to rally the troops again. It has been a long campaign and it has caused a lot of stress. They can always appeal, but this is a big win for us,” she added.
Cork North Central TD Padraig O’Sullivan welcomed the reversal of the planning permission decision.
“It is like winning the lotto for us. We had our first public meeting back in June 2018. There is a window for a judicial review which is a possibility, but given the refusal reasons I would be very surprised,” he said.
Deputy O’Sullivan said the proposed location was not ‘the right place’ given the plans for a substantial amount of housing in the area in the coming years.
“It is the right decision. This was never the right location. It would be in the middle of a future residential area. It is also close to the harbour, the special area of conservation.
“The Council have recently published their latest County Development Plan and they are looking to extend the residential zone to 100 acres which will mean thousands of houses in the future. It is not the right facility for that area. There could be 1500 houses there in time,” he added.
The Echo has contacted Country Clean Recycling Unlimited Company for comment.