Páirc planning application submitted but local residents not happy with plans

Páirc planning application submitted but local residents not happy with plans

THE Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium board has confirmed it has applied for planning permission “to improve the public offering at the stadium”.

THE Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium board has confirmed it has applied for planning permission “to improve the public offering at the stadium”.

The plans submitted to Cork City Council include a new GAA museum and visitor experience centre, including a cafe at ground-floor level. There are also interior changes to enhance the stadium’s attractiveness as a conference venue together with new entrances and a car park off Monahan Rd.

It comes as residents in the Ballintemple area wrote to the chief executive of Cork City Council expressing disappointment over the executive’s decision to issue a letter of consent to the Cork County GAA board giving it permission to lodge the application for the development on some lands within ownership of the council at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Marina Park.

Earlier this year, the GAA 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, which would be used on match days, with coach parking for school and conference groups included.

Also included in the proposed changes are significant new landscaping and tree planting, car and bus pick-up and drop-off points, a new setdown area at the main entrance, a new drop-off point at the main entrance, and a new bicycle parking station on the Monahan Rd/Park Avenue junction.

The plans submitted to Cork City Council include a new GAA museum and visitor experience centre, including a cafe at ground-floor level.
The plans submitted to Cork City Council include a new GAA museum and visitor experience centre, including a cafe at ground-floor level.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium board chairman John Horan said it has “carefully assessed the business plan for Páirc Uí Chaoimh in developing this new proposal”.

Board member Michael O’Flynn said the focus for the stadium’s board is on “ensuring that the people of Cork get to enjoy the real benefits from the enhanced public realm around Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Marina Park”.

However, the Ballintemple Area Residents’ Association has contacted the chief executive of the local authority expressing “dissatisfaction and regret” that the way was paved for the planning application to be lodged.

The association stated: “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.

“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 the Ballintemple Area Residents’ Association.”

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.

“Footpaths, hedges, walls, private gardens, and public areas were littered with plastic beer glasses, plastic bottles, glass bottles, and other matchgoer 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,” said the Ballintemple Area Residents’ Association.

A spokesperson for Cork County GAA board has said that the residents’ association and all local agencies were informed of all matches recently by its 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 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 [on July 18] 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 Rd, Monahan Rd, or Centre Park Rd.

“Access to the stadium carpark was via Monahan Rd 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 that a post-event meeting is currently being set up and that it “looks forward to engaging with local residents on all matters arising”.

It said it was unaware of any litter issues in the area.

Meanwhile, in a statement to The Echo regarding the letter of consent that paved the way for the application to be lodged, 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.”

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