Thursday, 17 December 2009

O'Callaghan to push ahead with hospital plans

PROPERTY DEVELOPER Owen O’Callaghan is to resubmit revised plans for an €80 million 94-bed private hospital in Cork after An Bord Pleanála yesterday refused permission for the original proposal.

O’Callaghan Properties had been granted planning permission by Cork City Council last July for the new hospital on Lancaster Quay near the new Jury’s Hotel on the city’s Western Road but it was appealed to An Bord Pleanála which refused permission.

An Bord Pleanála has yet to disclose details of its refusal but, according to a spokesman for O’Callaghan Properties, the refusal relates to the building’s design and resulted from a five-four vote by the board which chose to overrule its own inspector who favoured the project.

“We are encouraged at the direction of An Bord Pleanála in that it says that a change of use on site to hospital use is acceptable to it,” said the O’Callaghan Properties spokesman.

“The board has an issue with the design of the project and that is something we will address with a view to submitting a fresh application to the local authority by mid-January. On that basis and bearing in mind the board’s advisement, we would hope to be in a position to commence construction of the hospital in June/July 2010.”

According to the spokesman, the hospital was a project “that could have started in April and would have created 350 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs, so in the current economic climate particularly, that is very regrettable”.

The six-storey hospital, located on a two-acre portion of the Jury’s site, would have included six operating theatres, 20 consulting suites, surgical day beds and recovery beds, intensive care, an oncology ward, physiotherapy facilities and a cafeteria.

O’Callaghan Properties had already confirmed that it had agreed a deal with healthcare operators, La Tour of Switzerland, and the Health Partnership to run the new hospital.

The company had originally planned to develop the site for 100 apartments but dropped that plan in favour of the hospital proposal having already built some 175 apartments and a new Jury’s Hotel on the site.

Irish Times

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