Second bid to rezone business park fails

A second attempt to change the city development plan to facilitate a development at a business park in Cork City has been shot down.

City councillors have voted unanimously against a planner’s recommendation to grant planning for a veterinary clinic in Melbourne Business Park in Bishopstown.

A previous application to change the use of the park’s Block B to a ‘local retail centre’ is currently under appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

It follows city councillors’ decision last November to vote against a material contravention of the development plan to facilitate that development.

It is understood Tesco Express had been lined up as the intended anchor for the larger unit of the proposed retail centre.

The project was aimed at serving the large CIT student catchment in the area and its extensive purpose-built student accommodation.

Then last March, Melbourne Management Company applied again for permission to change the use of the park’s unit six from business, enterprise and light-industry to develop a veterinary clinic.

It would have contravened materially the business and technology zoning objectives of the site.

In a report to councillors, planners said despite the park’s zoning, they considered that the principle of the proposed development was in keeping with the provisions of the city development plan, which indicates the need for a new local centre for the area.

However, councillors disagreed and said the Bishopstown local area plan states that any local retail centre for the area should be developed elsewhere.

And they pointed out that another veterinary clinic is located in another business park just across the road.

The council’s planning committee considered the planner’s report and recommended to the full council that it be rejected.

Then last week, all councillors voted unanimously in favour of the committee’s recommendation — effectively shooting the project down.

The business park was built as light industrial units in the late 1980s.

In 2004, permission was granted for a change of use of the park’s Block A, from light industrial use to light industry business, enterprise and retail services centre.

A three-year temporary permission was granted recently for fitness, health related uses.

The planner’s report said the business park, which has 18 units, has a vacancy rate of 50% — over twice the average vacancy rates in other business parks with business and technology zoning in the city.

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