Go-ahead for residential scheme at site of former Cork city Garda station

Cork City Council has given the green light for the development, with 11 routine conditions attached.
Go-ahead for residential scheme at site of former Cork city Garda station

In June, IFES Electrical Services Ltd lodged a planning application with the council seeking permission for the change of use of 58 MacCurtain Street. Pic; Larry Cummins

A RESIDENTIAL scheme is set to be developed at the site of a former Garda station in the city centre following a grant of conditional planning permission from Cork City Council.

In June, IFES Electrical Services Ltd lodged a planning application with the council seeking permission for the change of use of 58 MacCurtain Street.

The proposed scheme comprised a total of nine units made up of five studios, three one-bed apartments and one two-bed apartment.

The provision of 15 bicycle parking spaces in the rear courtyard along with the reconfiguration of the existing rear annex to facilitate ancillary storage and fire escape access onto Little William Street were also included in the plans.

The application also sought permission for drainage, minor internal demolition and alterations, conservation works to the front façade and all associated site development works.

Cork City Council sought further information before making a decision on the proposed development.

The council said while it supported the proposed refurbishment of the vacant property it had concerns about the quality of the living environment of the two-bed basement apartment and Unit 9 of the top floor.

“Both proposed apartments could have very poor aspect and daylight supply,” the council said.

City council also raised concerns about the allocation of communal open space, which it deemed “inappropriate” and “of low amenity value” in the location that was proposed.

The planning authority advised that this area would be better used as a storage or services area to serve the residents of the development.

Some modifications were then made to the proposed scheme in a bid to address the council’s concerns, which the applicants stated resulted in a more “considered and robust scheme”.

Revised scheme 

The revised scheme, the applicants said, remained largely similar in terms of scale, density and the number of units in light of the fact that it is “a relatively modest development” which was “designed to fit in and integrate with the surrounding area”.

Seeking to address the council’s concerns, an assessment of daylight access was carried out, which resulted in some changes to the scheme, including proposals for two roof lights and a revised composition for the apartment at basement level.

“A revised layout is now proposed showing one studio apartment in lieu of the originally applied for two-bedroom apartment, which will benefit from daylight ingress from the south-facing fenestration,” the applicants stated.

“The area no longer in use for the two-bedroom apartment will be dedicated to storage areas for bulky items for use by the residents,” they continued.

The applicants also stated that, with regard to communal and amenity space, there remains 41m² of communal open space as there is “ample segregated and dedicated storage as well as bike storage in the yard”.

Cork City Council has now given the green light for the development, with 11 routine conditions attached.

Building idle since 2013 

The former Garda station, which was once part of the Mayfield district, has been idle since 2013 when it was closed along with three other city stations as part of cost-saving measures that saw 100 close nationwide.

The property was sold at public auction in December 2019.

In a submission on the proposed development, The Victorian Quarter Cork, also known as the MacCurtain Street Traders Association, expressed their support for the scheme, describing it as “an exemplar of how buildings in the city centre that are disused and centrally located can be densified and brought back into life for much-needed housing”.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent had previously suggested that the building could be acquired by the council and used for a museum or public space.

However, he welcomed plans to bring it back into use.

“It is welcome the building will be brought back into use but I had raised the opportunity previously for the former Garda station to be kept for public use, perhaps to be acquired by the council for a museum, sports or historical, that would attract tourists and complement ongoing changes to MacCurtain Street,” he said.

The council previously said that the building would require some reconfiguration and refurbishment to bring it back to active use and that this would require “substantial capital and revenue investment”.

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