THE first phase of the €46.05 million Grand Parade Quarter project took a step forward yesterday as Cork city councillors approved the Part 8 Planning for the Beamish and Crawford Quarter Infrastructure Public Realm Improvement Scheme and the Bishop Lucey Park Regeneration Scheme.
The Grand Parade Quarter project will see a complete renewal of the area around the southern gateway to the medieval city, connecting the Grand Parade and a series of historic lanes, streets and Bishop Lucey Park with the south channel of the River Lee and the city centre business core.
Cork City Council has described it as “one of the most transformative and ambitious public realm renewal programmes ever undertaken in the city”.
The details of the Grand Parade Quarter project were announced in mid-July and the proposals for Bishop Lucey Park and the Beamish and Crawford/South Main Street and surrounding area were the subject of two separate Part 8 Planning applications.
Bishop Lucey Park is to be completely renewed based on an award-winning architectural design that opens up the park to the wider city centre, re-imagines space within it, has many biodiversity gains and protects and highlights the city’s medieval wall.
South Main Street will be transformed through the creation of a large-scale public space opening up the historic Counting House on the Beamish and Crawford site and creating new walking and cycling opportunities around the area.
The revitalisation will be further enhanced by a sustainable greening strategy with street trees lining footpaths and roadways with low level planting beds and a variety of planters bringing colour and vibrancy to the area.
Speaking at last night’s council meeting, Fianna Fáil councillor John Sheehan said the overall project will “add a lot to the enhancement of the city”.
Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill also welcomed the project but said it would “all come to naught” if a “reasonable plan” was not devised to ensure that the redeveloped Bishop Lucey Park is well managed.
There was some discussion on potentially renaming Bishop Lucey Park, with Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent suggesting that this could be put to public consultation.
In tandem with the Beamish and Crawford site works, complementary public realm improvements are to be made to South Main Street, Tobin Street, Tuckey Street, South Gate Bridge, Keyser’s Hill, Proby’s Quay, Frenchs Quay Crosses Green, Clarke’s Bridge and Wandesford Quay.
The remaining and final element of the project will see the development of a state-of-the-art new city public library in the Grand Parade area.
The works will be funded through the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) established under the Government’s Ireland 2040 programme and from Cork City Council’s own resources.
The project represents the first application of URDF investment in the city.