Cork City Council against GAA housing proposal; County board 'surprised' by opinion 

The council said it believes the development as proposed by Cork GAA “does not accord with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area” and should therefore be refused.
Cork City Council against GAA housing proposal; County board 'surprised' by opinion 

A City Council report said the Cork County GAA Board “has not demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Planning Authority, that the proposed development will not impact negatively upon the environment”.

CORK City Council has recommended that An Bord Pleanála should refuse planning permission for a strategic housing development (SHD) proposed by Cork County GAA Board.

In July, the GAA lodged a planning application seeking permission for the development which includes 319 homes, a crèche, and a riverside park on lands owned by Cork County GAA Board next to the Old Whitechurch Rd in Kilbarry. Should the application be successful, the site will then be sold to service the debts of Cork GAA.

As part of the SHD process, Cork City Council prepared a report on the application, giving its opinion on whether the development should be permitted or not.

In the report, seen by The Echo, the council said it believes the development as proposed “does not accord with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area” and should therefore be refused.

The Cork County GAA Board said it is surprised by the council’s opinion.

Among the concerns expressed in the council’s report was “the lack of usable public open space, non-compliance with key principles set out in the design manual for urban roads and streets, and the over-provision of car parking proposed”.

The report said the Cork County GAA Board “has not demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Planning Authority, that the proposed development will not impact negatively upon the environment”.

In this respect, the report specifically cited “at-risk species including the marsh fritillary, an Annex II species, and rare fungi”.

After receiving the city council’s report, Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said: “There’s great relief this evening among local residents’ groups that city officials have supported their concerns with this development.

“I hope now that An Bord Pleanála will respect that recommendation. If the GAA want to proceed with a development here, they will need to come back with more scaled-back plans that takes account of the issues raised. 

"Murphy’s Rock is a unique amenity on the northside of the city.”

Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent urged An Bord Pleanála to take views of the council and locals into consideration when making a decision on the planning application.

“The city council’s determination is significant, and corresponds with the concerns of residents and councillors of the possible impact on the Glenamought River/Bride Valley/Murphy’s Rock amenity area,” he said.

“Housing development proposals are welcome, but have to complement the wider area and have adequate infrastructure.

“Ultimately, An Bord Pleanála will make the decision, but should take the views of the council, the local community, and councillors into consideration.”

The city council’s report also sets out a list of planning conditions that it would recommend in the event that An Bord Pleanála decides to approve the proposed development.

In a statement to The Echo, Cork County GAA Board said the SHD planning application was submitted after previous engagement involving Cork City Council, Cork GAA, and An Bord Pleanála.

County Board surprise 

Cork County Board said it is “fully committed to engaging with An Bord Pleanála to address all observations as they arise”, but noted its “surprise at the opinion of Cork City Council’s planning department in recommending a refusal of the development”.

“At no point during these various consultations did Cork City Council allude to a reason for the refusal of permission,” it stated.

“The proposed refusal reasons as set in the city council opinion relate to site-specific design issues and the potential impact on the environment of the site. We believe these have been fully addressed in the proposal now before the board.

“We are confident that all of the planning authority’s concerns can, if found necessary by An Bord Pleanála, be properly and fully addressed by way of appropriate planning conditions; conditions which have already been set out in an appendix to the city council’s own submission to the board.”

An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision on the case by late October.

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