Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Council seeks more details on €150m plan for Beamish site

CORK CITY Council has sought further information from Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors on their plan to develop a €150 million heritage quarter on the site of the former Beamish Crawford brewery in Cork.

Cork City Council had been due to give a decision yesterday on the project, which incorporates a 6,000-capacity event centre.

Instead, however, it has sought further information, giving the applicants six weeks to respond to a number of queries.

Heineken Ireland corporate affairs manager Declan Farmer said it had already worked with council planners in “an open and engaging way” and would continue to do so.

Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch giant Royal BAM Group, applied for planning permission for the project last December and throughout January briefed the public on their proposals for the 1.8 hectare site.

The project, called “the Brewery Quarter”, features a mixed scheme of shops, bars, restaurants, an eight-screen cinema, exhibition areas, 46 student apartments and a viewing tower, as well as the event centre.

According to Mr Farmer, the project has been carefully designed to conserve Beamish Crawford’s historic Counting House with its mock Tudor facade fronting on to South Main Street, which will be incorporated into the entire development.

Mr Farmer said the plan also involves the construction of two new pedestrian bridges across the south channel of the river Lee, which bounds the property on both its southern and western flanks, and these will link the site to Cross’s Green and French’s Quay-Proby’s Quay.

“The plan will contribute to the local environment by opening up a new North-South route in sympathy with the original streets and lanes from the Grand Parade across to the unique landmarks of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Elizabeth Fort and Proby’s Quay,” he said.

The entire area is highly historic as it is near the site of the current St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, where St Finbarr founded a monastery in the 6th century, while in 2004 archaeologists found evidence Vikings had built a colony near the South Gate Bridge.

The Beamish Crawford site is also historic in that brewing began there in 1690, and up to its closure in May 2009 it was the oldest continuously operating brewery in Ireland. Mr Farmer said this will be recognised in the project.

Heineken and BAM Contractors have engaged extensively with music industry promoters Live Nation, which operates the O2 in Dublin, to ensure the event centre will be a world-class performance venue, said Mr Farmer.

He said they believe the project, which will take three years to complete, would bring a significant regeneration benefit to Cork city centre while adding to the city’s reputation as an attractive tourist destination.

Irish Times

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