A LENGTHY debate was ongoing last night in City Hall as Cork City Councillors met to discuss and vote on 522 proposed amendments to the Draft Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028.
The preparation of the new plan formally commenced in June 2020.
Following the initial public consultation, Cork City Council prepared the draft plan which was published in July 2021 with a public consultation process running from July 26 until October 4.
A total of 449 written submissions were received.
The council’s Chief Executive, Ann Doherty then compiled a two-volume report of over 800 pages summarising and outlining the key issues arising from those submissions and setting out her response and recommendation to the issues raised.
“This is the first city development plan since the extension to the city in 2019 so it is a very historical and momentous occasion,” Ms Doherty said at last night’s meeting.
She also lauded the “momentous efforts” of councillors who engaged in a series of full council and Local Electoral Area workshops to consider the content of the draft plan and the CE’s report.
Among the decisions made at last night’s meeting, councillors voted to change Ellis’s Yard in its entirety from ‘Light Industry and Related Uses’ to ‘Sustainable Residential Neighbourhoods’ to be used specifically for Traveller accommodation, as recommended by the CE.
“This is in some ways a technical to give effect to the plan we agreed in 2019 for the Traveller Accommodation Plan for the city and in particular for Spring Lane and Ellis’s Yard,” Green Party councillor Oliver Moran commented last night.
“What it will allow us to do is proceed with the plan that we have agreed,” he continued.
Also at the meeting, councillors voted against a proposed amendment to oppose the extension of the ACA (Architectural Conservation Area) to the west of the existing ACA in Blarney.
Fine Gael Cllr Damian Boylan, who lives in Blarney, spoke against the proposed amendment.
He said that “the ACA in itself stops no development” but said that what it does is ask that any development is “sympathetic to the surroundings it lies in”.
He said that local people are incredibly proud of Blarney, which he described as the “jewel in the crown of Cork”, adding, “we’d like to keep it in some way the way it is whilst allowing for growth and development”.
Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan was among the councillors to support the amendment.
“This isn’t changing the ACA… this is actually adding ACA to a designation where it previously wasn’t.
“It’s not a site of biodiversity. It is a site that has been historically derelict and for many years for which there is a huge wish for something to be developed upon,” she said.
The meeting was ongoing at the time of print.
The amendments are set to be published for public consultation on April 1.