Saturday 28 June 2008

Docklands redevelopment could face delays

PARTS of the multi-billion euro regeneration of Cork’s docklands could be delayed by the Ringaskiddy decision.

The relocation of the Port of Cork’s activities downstream from the city centre is crucial for the city to proceed with its transformation of the sprawling docklands region.

But An Bord Pleanála’s decision to refuse planning permission for the new container terminal at Oysterbank has thrown a spanner in the works.

It effectively prevents the port’s efforts to move activities from their Tivoli container terminal, which has reached capacity, downstream.

This will almost certainly have a knock-on effect on the scheduling of its relocation of the rest of its activities at the city centre quays.

It was unclear last night how the decision will impact on the time-scale.

But in the meantime, city council plans to develop a local area plan to guide future development of the Tivoli site will almost certainly be delayed.

The council has already drawn up two master plans — a north docks local area plan (LAP) and a south docks LAP — to guide development of the docklands.

The 166-hectare region with 4kms of waterfront has the capacity to accommodate a population of at least 15,000, and a working population of almost 20,000.

Up to 6,000 homes will be built, alongside more than 500,000sq m of office space, educational institutions, retail outlets as well as culture and leisure facilities.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s decision may strengthen the port company’s interest in the 114-acre former IFI site at Marino Point, facing Passage West.

Critically, that Marino Point site, which is currently for sale for €40 million, has a rail head, as well as deep water berth/jetty and road access.

The Marino Point lands went back up for sale in January of this year, with expressions of interest sought by March. However, no sale decision has yet been reached. It is largely owned by hotel and bars owner Hugh O’Regan, who paid about €25m for it four years ago.

Irish Examiner

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