Monday 12 October 2009

Changes agreed to city's Docklands Strategy

Several changes have been agreed to Cork’s multi-billion euro Docklands strategy after an agreement was reached between the city and the Port of Cork.

The two bodies have been in dispute over certain aspects of the Docklands plans because of the Port’s continued city centre quay activities.

The Port of Cork Co was concerned that, if proposed changes were made to the city’s South Docklands Local Area Plan (LAP), it would be "severely disadvantaged and its activities potentially undermined". The changes, which were due to be discussed at council recently, were deferred after the Port wrote to councillors citing five areas of concern, including -

* the timing of the construction of two massive bridges - including one at Water Street - and
* plans to build amenity areas on certain parts of the quays owned by the Port, before the Port relocates downstream.

The Port put forward its own wording for amendments to the LAP under each of the five headings.

Councillors held a special meeting last week, the deadline by which the changes had to be agreed, to discuss the matter. City manager Joe Gavin presented a report, with detailed responses to each of the Port’s concerns.

One of the amendments states that the city council will work with the Port and other stakeholders to facilitate the orderly relocation of port activities from the quays.

Another states that the Port’s activity can continue even if the two bridges are built before the Port relocates downstream and another states that no amenity work will be carried out of Port of Cork-owned land without the Port’s permission.

Mr Gavin said agreement had been reached between the two parties over the wording and the report was adopted within minutes. It came just hours after confirmation that one of the Dockland’s biggest so-called Seveso sites is to be redeveloped.

RPIF plc, which owns the Topaz terminal site on Centre Park Road, confirmed that it is preparing a planning application for a mixture of retail and office facilities on the site. It is expected to be completed within three or four months.

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