An Bord Pleanála (ABP) has overturned a decision by Cork City Council in deciding to grant conditional planning permission for changes to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Last summer, the board of Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium and Cork GAA submitted a planning application with Cork City Council seeking permission for modifications to the stadium.
The application included proposed internal reorganisation and redevelopment works to the South Stand to provide “a new GAA museum/exhibition/ visitor centre” and café.
Other changes proposed in the application included an enhancement of the second floor to be used as a conference venue with office hub facilities and break out spaces.
The application had said that other reorganisation works would “allow for a new internal stadium tour route as part of a new tourist attraction”.
Proposed external works to the stadium included modifications to the existing City End and Blackrock End stadium entrances to include sheltered porches and signage and revised vehicular access to the stadium and its associated parking via the Monahan Road.
The application, lodged by Páirc Uí Chaoimh CTR, also sought permission for a new car park at the Blackrock End of the stadium, accessed via Monahan Road, “for use by those visiting Marina Park and the stadium and for disabled parking on match days, with a connection to the existing public parking area at the Atlantic Pond” as well as new pedestrian and cycle connections to include pedestrian crossings and new bicycle parking stations at the Monahan Road / Park Avenue Junction and on the Marina Park concourse.
Plans also included a new playground at the Atlantic Pond.
Cork City Council refused planning permission for the proposed development last September for several reasons.
Among them, the local authority said it believed the development proposed would “endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard” as well as “severely limiting” the council’s ability to provide a “large iconic public park.” The council also said the area proposed for a car park was already identified as “flood storage” within the Marina Park Masterplan.
Commenting at the time, Ballintemple Area Residents' Association said it welcomed the decision "not to allow unrequired car parks on public amenity space, interrupting the linear Marina Park".
The board of Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium and Cork GAA said they noted the decision with “surprise and extreme disappointment”, stating that they had submitted the planning application “in good faith” following “extensive pre-planning consultations” and had “sought to engage positively and constructively in the process”.
They later lodged an appeal with ABP in a bid to overturn the council’s decision.
ABP has now granted permission for the proposed development, subject to nine conditions.
These include a stipulation that a proposed parking zone, a proposed managed pick-up/drop-off area and a proposed vehicle crossing point at the western end of the pedestrian concourse must be omitted.
ABP said that vehicular access to the stadium “shall remain to be provided off the Marina and vehicular access off Monaghan Road shall be restricted to the western access only and shall be restricted to use for emergency access only”.
ABP said that subject to compliance with the conditions, it considered that the proposed development “would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.