THE developers behind ambitious plans for the city’s South Docks have welcomed Cork City Council’s grant of conditional planning permission for two major planning applications and have confirmed their intention to apply for permission to develop 1,300 new homes elsewhere in the area.
Last December, O’Callaghan Properties (OCP), 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.
Brian O’Callaghan, managing director of OCP said the developments will mark a “transformative revitalisation of Cork city’s South Docks area”.
“The council’s decision is a really positive confirmation of our project’s potential to create a major driver of economic activity and employment in Cork city centre and a cultural and tourist landmark for years to come,” he said.
“We will be starting that work with our consultants immediately with a view to starting on site as quickly as possible,” Mr O’Callaghan added.
He also confirmed that OCP is set to lodge another planning application seeking permission to create 1,300 new homes in the South Docks.
“Plans for this development will be available for inspection later this year,” he said.
The two applications which have been granted conditional planning sought permission for a significant regeneration of the South Docks area including the demolition of the R&H Hall silos and the construction of four buildings to include office space, cafés, convenience retail and 80 apartments.
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, with plans for a rehabilitation hospital forming a separate planning application.
Cork City Council sought further information before making a decision on both applications which resulted in some amendments to the proposals.
A total of 49 conditions are attached to the city council’s approval of the mixed-use development incorporating the Odlums building while 42 conditions are attached to the grant of permission for the 130-bed rehabilitation hospital, set to be run by the French multinational Orpea Group.
One condition stipulates that a number of design proposals put forward by architects Henry J Lyons on behalf of the applicants in response to the further information request must be incorporated into the mixed-use development “in the interests of communicating the history of the site with the public”.
Another states that drawings “that clearly identify elements of historic tracks to be salvaged within the subject’s site and show how they will be incorporated into the public realm” must be submitted to the planning authority and the conservation officer for written agreement before development commences.
Independent councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy who, in a submission on the plans had said he would welcome if the design of the new buildings could reflect the history of the area as much as possible, lauded the updated design proposals submitted following the request for further information.
Meanwhile, Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber, welcomed the grant of conditional planning and commended the “ambition and vision" of OCP.
He said that, as the project comes to fruition, “it is essential that place-making remains central to development to boost Cork’s attractiveness for its citizens, investment, talent and tourism.”
“As housing supply is at critical levels, viability, affordability and a constructive process for developments are key to ensuring housing and infrastructure plans already in the making are delivered at pace,” Mr Healy continued.