Residents near Páirc Uí Chaoimh highlight 'dissatisfaction' over decision enabling GAA to submit planning application

Residents near Páirc Uí Chaoimh highlight 'dissatisfaction' over decision enabling GAA to submit planning application

Earlier this year the GAA had asked Cork City Council for written approval to lodge a planning application. Picture Dan Linehan

RESIDENTS in the Ballintemple area have written to the chief executive of Cork City Council expressing their disappointment over the executive’s decision to issue a letter of consent to the Cork County GAA Board giving them permission to lodge a planning application for development on some lands within the ownership of the council at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Marina Park on the Monahan Road.

Earlier this year the GAA had asked Cork City Council for written approval to lodge a planning application.

As part of the plans, the GAA is looking to develop 124 parking spaces on lands located at the Blackrock end of the stadium near the entrance to the Atlantic Pond.

These spaces would be used on match days, with coach parking for school and conference groups.

Internal reorganisation works and proposals for a new GAA museum/exhibition/ visitor centre and café also form part of the plans.

Now Ballintemple Area Residents' Association (BARA) have contacted the chief executive expressing their “dissatisfaction and regret” over the decision to issue the letter of consent.

“We wrote to you and the Council executive several times in recent months expressing the widespread opposition to this but our concerns were not noted or responded to,” the association stated.

“We would also like to emphasise our dissatisfaction with the way the recent GAA games at Páirc Uí Chaoimh were conducted.

“The GAA had committed to keeping residents informed about any events at the stadium so people could make alternative arrangements to get to work or to leave their homes or have visitors etc.

“This did not happen.

“There was no email or leaflet drop regarding these fixtures and associated match traffic plans etc sent to BARA,” they continued.

The association also stated that traffic attending a recent match at the stadium was “extremely unregulated” and attached photos of cars parked in cycle lanes, on grass verges, on public footpaths and on double yellow lines.

Concerns were also highlighted about an increase in litter following matches at the stadium.

“Furthermore, the area does not seem to have been included on any extra sanitation rotation for the evening after the matches were held — or indeed the following days.

“Footpaths, hedges, walls, private gardens, and public areas were littered with plastic beer glasses, plastic bottles, glass bottles, and other match-goer litter.

“We feel very let down by the lack of consideration of local residents and community members in relation to future plans which affect a significant number of people and also in relation to traffic and litter regulation enforcement locally,” the association concluded.

RESPONSE

In a statement to The Echo regarding the letter of consent Cork City Council said:

“Stadium management has identified a number of measures which they say are required to place the stadium on a long term sustainable footing.

“These measures are to be assessed through formal Cork City Council planning processes.

“A letter of consent only enables stadium management to begin this planning application.

“The formal planning process will enable all elements of the project to be considered in the round in an open and transparent way that will enable all interested parties to make their views known.

“This letter of consent is given without prejudice to the planning process.” 

Cork County GAA Board has said they “look forward to briefing the public on the planning application”.

A spokesperson said: “The local residents' association and all local agencies were certainly informed of all matches recently by our Community Liaison Officer”.

Two separate emails, seen by The Echo, were sent to a cohort of people including local councillors and residents informing them of matches on June 12 and June 13 and on July 15 and 18.

The spokesperson continued: “The event organisers Munster Council liaised with Gardaí in advance of the fixture to discuss traffic management and stadium requirements.

“An Garda Síochána's primary concern was with potential illegal parking in the housing estates.

“A decision was made to place stewards/security staff at 23 different locations in the vicinity of the stadium.

“This number of stewards would normally be reserved for a fixture with an expected attendance in excess of 25,000.

“The attendance for this fixture was set at 6,100 therefore it is evident that a massive effort was made to ensure there was no illegal or unauthorised parking in the housing estates of local residents.

“Throughout the day there were no complaints received from residents regarding non-resident parking in their estates to the hotline number provided in advance.

“There were no complaints received of traffic delays on Blackrock Road, Monahan Road or Centre Park Road.

“Access to the stadium carpark was via Monahan Road and the emergency route into the stadium was supervised at all times.

“Vehicles were restricted from entering the stadium carpark via the Marina,” the spokesperson said.

However, they acknowledged that there were issues “regarding parking on some of the access roads on Sunday”.

“This was the first match where any issue was raised recently.

“Any previous matches, since March 2020 had attendances of 500 or less.” 

Cork County GAA Board said a post event meeting is currently being set up and that they “look forward to engaging with local residents on all matters arising”.

They said they were unaware of any litter issues in the area.

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