Cork GAA has been turned down for planning by Cork County Council for a proposed building of a new car park and improvements to the access to Pairc Uí Chaoimh.
The stadium was redeveloped and is now one of the finest in the country with a capacity of 45,000 but has struggled with issues of access given its location adjacent to public land facing onto the River and which is being developed as Marina Park.
In a strong statement last night, the County Board said that:
“The Board of Pairc Ui Chaoimh Stadium and Cork GAA note with surprise and extreme disappointment the decision of Cork City Council’s Planning Department in relation to its recent application for changes to the stadium and its environs.”
“The decision notwithstanding, there remain serious safety issues and infrastructural deficits that have the potential to impede the development of the stadium into the future.”
“The Board and Cork GAA’s intention was always to enhance the operation of the stadium and to improve its interaction and integration with Marina Park.”
The permission also sought to reshape some of the stadium to accommodate a new Museum and Café and to create more conference and potential office hub workspace in the South Stand.
It was the car parks being proposed for public amenity land as part of the riverside development though that sparked local opposition which has clearly been noted.
Over 100 objections and comments were lodged as part of the process, prior to yesterday’s decision.
“We submitted this planning application in good faith following extensive pre-planning consultations with Cork City Council, and had sought to engage positively and constructively in the process,” continued the statement.
“As applicants, we were expecting a request for further information from the Planning Department, and would have fully engaged with that process as is standard practice in most applications of this size and scale.”
“No such request was forthcoming.”
“The outright refusal raises serious and immediate questions about the safety of the existing vehicular access to Pairc UiChaoimh via the pedestrianised Marina.”
“Cork GAA has grave concerns about this ongoing situation.”
“The issue of insufficient disabled parking in proximity to the stadium, which was highlighted prominently in the application, remains a critical deficit.”
“The Board will continue to seek an appropriate resolution to the issues outlined, and will now consider all options.”
“We will continue to seek to engage with residents groups and all interested parties in a meaningful way as we work to achieve the full potential of the stadium for all the people of Cork.”
“The Board of Pairc UiChaoimh and Cork GAA will seek an urgent meeting with Cork City Council to discuss the refusal of the planning application.”
With construction plans at Pairc Uí Chaoimh in the news as well as talk of a five-night run of Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park, it must feel a little like groundhog day for the GAA facilities team after the excitement of the senior inter-county season wrapped only last weekend.
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