Council to vote on extension of hall into city centre park

The development would contravene materially the objective of the existing Cork City development plan as the site is zoned as public open space.
Council to vote on extension of hall into city centre park

CORK city councillors will vote today to decide on a material contravention of the city development plan which, if passed, would likely see the extension of the Freemasons’ Hall into a section of Bishop Lucey Park. Picture: Denis Minihane.

CORK city councillors will vote today to decide on a material contravention of the city development plan which, if passed, would likely see the extension of the Freemasons’ Hall into a section of Bishop Lucey Park.

Last month, Cork City Council advertised that it intended to consider granting permission for a four-storey extension to the hall to accommodate a new staircase and lift to improve fire safety and universal access. The proposed extension to the rear of the hall, fronting Bishop Lucey Park, would include associated site works.

The development would contravene materially the objective of the existing Cork City development plan as the site is zoned as public open space. Cork City Council had invited submissions or observations “as regards the making of a decision to grant permission”.

Last week, councillors were briefed on the proposal ahead of today’s meeting.

Green Party councillor for the city’s south central ward Dan Boyle told The Echo that two thirds of the councillors would need to support the contravention for it to pass.

Mr Boyle said there were pros and cons to the proposal.

“They [the Freemason organisation] have issues in relation to fire safety access from the rear of their building and they submitted plans which in terms of the design of the building aren’t bad. They’re offering greater public use of their building as a result,” he said.

However, “it removes another patch of green in an area that is going to have a lot of green removed from it anyway as part of its redevelopment”.

Mr Boyle told The Echo the Green Party group were still discussing what way to vote.

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