PLANS for the ambitious redevelopment of Cork city’s South Docks have been granted conditional planning permission, ushering in “a new era for Cork”.
Last December, O’Callaghan Properties, through Leeside Quays Ltd, lodged a planning application with Cork City Council seeking 10-year planning permission for a mixed-use development comprising four new buildings and the conversion of the long-idle Odlums building as well as a separate planning application with the council seeking 10-year planning permission for a proposed rehabilitation hospital, all within the city’s South Docklands.
Cork City Council has now approved both applications, subject to a number of conditions which have yet to be published.
In a statement to The Echo, a spokesperson for O’Callaghan Properties said:
“While we’re obviously pleased that permission has been granted by Cork City Council, we are not in a position to comment further until we have sight of the decision in detail.” Independent councillor and former Lord Mayor, Mick Finn welcomed the grant of conditional planning saying that the redevelopment of the South Docks is “one of several transformative projects that will move Cork forward”.
“Most cities make imaginative uses of their ports and quays and, for decades, there has been little but disused and derelict buildings unavailable for public use.
The planning application for the mixed-use development sought permission to demolish the R&H Hall silos and to construct four buildings in which office space, cafés, convenience retail and 80 apartments would be developed in blocks ranging from nine to 12 storeys over a double basement.
The applicants also sought permission for a range of conservation works including part demolition, alterations, extension and change of use of the Odlums building to provide the likes of office space, food and beverage space, a cinema including a bar/dining area and 84 apartments.
The creation of amenity areas for residents and visitors and a public realm plan also formed part of the application.
Cork City Council sought further information before deciding on the application which resulted in some changes.
One request was that the developers would consider retaining a portion of the R&H Hall silos.
Responding, O’Callaghan Properties said that a review concluded that there would be “significant financial and safety implications” associated with retaining a portion of R&H Hall “if its retention is possible at all”.
However, architects Henry J Lyons on behalf of the applicants, have said that the existing building offers “a number of cues from which a sensitive response can be formed that pays tribute to the industrial and maritime heritage of the area”.
In a submission on the plans, Independent councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy had said he would “love if the design of the proposed ‘Silo’ buildings – would reflect as much of the R&H Hall buildings as possible”.
Mr McCarthy commended the developers “for their extensive history and environmental studies” submitted as part of the application and said he welcomed “the strong financial investment into South Docks”.
Meanwhile, conditional planning has also been granted for the proposed rehabilitation hospital at the South Docks.