Friday 5 August 2011

€150m development to be appealed

HERITAGE campaigners intend to appeal a decision by Cork city planners to grant conditional planning permission for a €150 million development at the former Beamish brewery site.

The National Conservation and Heritage Group, which has opposed the project since the brewery closed in May 2009, said it still has serious concerns, despite the raft of conditions imposed by planners.

Spokesman Mick Murphy said: "We are concerned about the intended use of the former brewery’s Counting House and the impact the entire development will have on the protected views of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral."

The group also queried the developer’s claims that the events centre could be evacuated within three minutes.

The plan includes proposals for a 6,000-seat events centre, an eight-screen cinema, and residential, office and retail accommodation.

Cork City Council has imposed 20 conditions on the plan, including scaling back the number of residential and office floors from various blocks to some modifications to the event centre’s ground floor.

Other conditions include:

nExtensive archaeological surveys to protect the city’s historic medieval core.

nName plaques to commemorate medieval laneways.

nSpace for cyclists on two new pedestrian bridges linking the site to French’s Quay and Crosses Green, and 180 cycle parking spaces onsite.

nRepair works to the quay wall and flood mitigation works.

The developers, Heineken Ireland and BAM contractors (formerly Ascon and Rohcon), must also reach a number of agreements with the council prior to work commencing, including a programme to ensure early reuse of the former heritage buildings and a traffic management plan.

A management company must be agreed to maintain the site and the developers must donate €2.8m to the General Development Contributions Scheme.

The distinctive mock-Tudor facade of the Counting House will be retained. The development will also include a viewing tower, 10 artist studios, bars and restaurants.

Declan Farmer, Heineken Ireland corporate relations manager, said they welcomed the council’s decision and that the quarter "will be an extraordinary and unique addition to the city’s townscape with significant regeneration benefit".

Independent city councillor Mick Finn also welcomed the decision, but said he believed the residential element should be used to attract young families to the city centre rather than students, as proposed.

Meanwhile, a decision is due in five to six weeks on a planning application for a second event centre in Cork city, on Albert Quay. The 5,000-seat venue is proposed by O’Callaghan Properties.

A spokesman said yesterday that because the assessment of the application is in process, "it would not be appropriate for OCP to make any comment" regarding the Beamish site decision.

Irish Examiner

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