€41m Cork retail scheme cleared to apply for planning

A DEVELOPER has been cleared to lodge a planning application for a €41 million supermarket near an ecologically sensitive site on Cork’s northside which straddles the city-county boundary.

The developer wants to upgrade the existing Fox & Hound mixed use retail and commercial development in Ballyvolane into a mixed use nine-unit retail district centre.

Tesco is expected to be the anchor tenant.

The project could create up to 200 construction jobs and up to 400 retail jobs.

The developer has also promised to set up a scheme in the local community to source and train employees.

However, Cork City Council owns a portion of land in the area which gives access to the proposed development site, which is in the county council’s jurisdiction.

The city-owned land, just north of the North Ring Road, is zoned as public open space and is an area of high landscape value.

As the access land was owned by the city, the developer needed to get a letter of consent from the city council to enable him to lodge a planning application.

If the project gets the go-ahead the applicant will also require the disposal of that land to ensure the project goes ahead.

The city council’s strategic planning committee considered a report from city manager Tim Lucey on the issues yesterday.

Mr Lucey recommended that the council issue the required letter of consent and said it would mark the start of a formal planning process.

He said the retail proposal had raised several issues which could only be dealt with in the event of a formal planning application.

He said that process would deal with matters such as the retail impact of the proposed development and its compatibility with the two local authorities’ joint retail strategy, access and transport details, as well as ecological and flood assessment issues.

However, Cllr Ted Tynan (Worker’s Party) said he was disappointed with the decision to facilitate the developer.

Cllr Denis O’Flynn (Lab) agreed and said: “We are sending out a message to developers to have a look around, and if you want to build on Fitzgerald’s park we’ll

Cllr Thomas Gould (SF) and Cllr Patricia Gosch (FG) said that given the current economic conditions it would be wrong for the council to turn its back on such a project at such an early stage.

Cllr Joe O’Callaghan (FG) said last night’s decision gave no guarantee that the project would go ahead.

“I have every faith in our professional planners,” he said.

“If this doesn’t stand upon its merits, in every respect, then it won’t get the go-ahead.”

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