GREENCORE has said that its plans for its 396-acre site in Mallow, Co Cork, remain unchanged despite the prospect of environment minister John Gormley introducing a ban on building on flood plains. According to documents submitted to Cork County Council, part of the development's proposed golf course, including some luxury golf lodges, will be located on a flood plain for the River Blackwater.
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said that Gormley's new planning guidelines would define a flood plain as an "an area of land next to a river or stream, which is susceptible to partial or complete inundation by water during a flood event".
Mallow saw heavy flooding earlier this month after the river broke its banks and the company told the council that a comprehensive review of its flood levels would have to take place before work on the development could begin.
It has also emerged that some areas of the site prone to flooding will be left undeveloped as a "designated protected wildlife habitat with a visitors centre to promote ecological and environmental awareness".
However, a Greencore spokeswoman denied that any other elements of the development would be located on the flood plain despite references to the wildlife habitat as "the undeveloped elements of the flood plain" in the documents.
"The only part of the site that has a flooding issue is the wildlife sanctuary," she said. "The rest of the site is not on the flood plain".
She said that the company had carried out a flood assessment on the site which found that everything was up to current flood engineering standards but declined to provide specific details.
The spokeswoman also added that the golf lodges which appeared to sit on the flood plain were actually on a higher elevation than the river.
Meanwhile, the company is also pressing ahead with its plans for it 333-acre project at the former sugar factory in Carlow. It is understood that the site was not inundated during the recent floods there.