'I think it’s probably the wrong call': Decision to submit revised plans for redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh criticised

'I think it’s probably the wrong call': Decision to submit revised plans for redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh criticised

The revised plans were submitted by Páirc Uí Chaoimh CTR as part of their appeal lodged with An Bord Pleanála challenging Cork City Council’s refusal of the planning application submitted in the summer. Picture Dan Linehan

A DECISION by the board of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to submit revised plans for the redevelopment of the stadium as part of an appeal lodged with An Bord Pleanála has come in for criticism, with one city councillor saying he believed it was the “wrong call”.

The revised plans were submitted by Páirc Uí Chaoimh CTR as part of an appeal lodged with Bord Pleanála challenging Cork City Council’s refusal of the planning application submitted in the summer, which included proposals for a new GAA museum and visitor experience centre, including a cafe at ground-floor level.

There were also interior changes to the stadium proposed, together with new entrances and 124 parking spaces on lands located at the Blackrock end of the stadium, near the entrance to the Atlantic Pond.

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

Cork City Council refused planning for the proposed development for several reasons, including that it would “contravene” the objective of the Cork City Development Plan in relation to public open space.

Appeal

In its appeal, the stadium board expressed disappointment at the council’s ruling against the planning application, stating that it had acted “in good faith throughout the planning process to date”.

It said the decision notwithstanding, the board feels there remain “infrastructure deficits” that have the potential to impede the future development of the stadium, highlighting insufficient disabled parking as an example.

The stadium board has requested An Bord Pleanála to hold an oral hearing into its application to allow all relevant issues to be discussed and examined because of the “complexity” of matters arising.

While the appeal seeks permission for the original refused proposal, it states that if the refusal is upheld, revised plans have been submitted for consideration.

Proposals in revised plans

The proposals as they relate to the internal and external modification of the stadium building, including the uses proposed, remain unchanged.

Some changes have been suggested, most notably the exclusion of the 124 car-parking spaces on the lands located at the Blackrock end of the stadium, near the entrance to the Atlantic Pond.

Another change is the proposed bicycle parking station at Park Avenue will remain as a car park but will be used to provide 20 accessible parking spaces for those visiting Marina Park and the stadium and for disabled parking on match days.

In its conclusions, the stadium board said the “primary justification for the proposed car parking is found in the Marina Park masterplan, which sets out a strategy to deliver circa 200 parking spaces to the southern side of the stadium at Monahan Road.

“These public spaces are to accommodate incidental use by the GAA for match days and events and would have provided the opportunity to provide disabled parking for the GAA.”

The board said to date, 37 of these spaces have been provided.

Concerns from councillors 

Speaking to The Echo, Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said he disagreed with the way the stadium board has proceeded. “In my view, they probably should have reapplied to the council with a version that would have been far more palatable for the public.

“They’re perfectly within their rights to go to the board but I think it’s probably the wrong call that they’re making — they should be going for a new application rather than appealing to the board,” he said, adding: “It’s the board’s decision now.”

Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy also expressed concern at the manner in which the revised plans have been put forward for consideration.

“They’ve asked An Bord Pleanála to decide on the refused plans and the revised plans. I’m not sure, from a planning perspective, if that can be done.

“I’m not fully up to speed with it, but I would have concerns that they should have gone through the process with these revised plans,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said he would have preferred if a new application was submitted on the revised plans.

“It’s in An Bord Pleanála’s hands now though,” he added.

A ruling on the appeal is expected by the end of February 2022.

The Echo has contacted the stadium board for comment.

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