Dean to challenge Beamish site design

THE Dean of Cork has expressed concerns that parts of the €150 million development of the Beamish and Crawford site in Cork will block protected views of historic St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

Dean Nigel Dunne made his comments last night ahead of an information meeting this evening on the plans.

Heineken Ireland, which owns the site, and BAM, lodged a planning application with Cork City Council before Christmas for the four-acre medieval site. They want to build a 6,000-seat events centre, a brewing exhibition centre, 30,000 square feet of office space, student accommodation and a mix of shops, bars and restaurants.

Lord Mayor Michael O’Connell, several city councillors and other key stakeholders have been invited by the backers to attend tonight’s meeting. Another meeting for publicans and local businesses is due to take place tomorrow night.

Dean Dunne, who is due to attend tonight’s meeting with cathedral advisers, said he broadly supports the plan. But he has concerns about the curved design of one of its key buildings which sweeps out over the south channel of the river Lee, close to South Gate Bridge.

“This is a great project for Cork and while I am very much in favour of it, I do have some concerns, particularly about the size of the projection of the building out on the river side.

“I would be concerned about its impact on the views of the cathedral, that are, after all, protected. A redesign there would be good.”

He said he would like to see the scope of the development’s proposed interpretive centre expanded, from presenting simply a history of brewing on the site, to one that encompasses a broader history of Cork city, including St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

“I would be somewhat concerned about the interpretive centre’s focus on brewing,” he said.

“That history is important but I would hope that the scope could be broadened to direct people towards us — where Cork was founded. It would be great if they would broaden the brief. I think it could lead people into the Cathedral Quarter.”

The plan will recreate historic old streets and lanes, and provide two new footbridges.

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