By Seán McCárthaigh
Mercy University Hospital has been refused planning permission for a new cancer care centre in Cork city following objections from a local resident.
An Bord Pleanála ruled that the proposed facility on Woods Street would cause “unacceptable levels of overshadowing and loss of daylight” to neighbouring properties on Dyke Parade.
Although the planning appeals authority said the area is suitable for the cancer care centre in principle under its current zoning, it found that its height and scale would have “seriously injured” the amenities of other properties in the vicinity.
The ruling overturns the decision of Cork City Council in January to approve the construction of the new three-storey centre consisting of offices, reception, waiting area, a social space, counselling rooms, a reading room and ancillary spaces.
The development by the Mercy University Hospital Foundation would also have required the demolition of four existing, semi-derelict buildings on Woods Street.
The centre, which would have been located around 100m from the Mercy Hospital, was designed to act as a non-medical facility for people diagnosed with cancer.
A local resident of Dyke Parade, Alicia Mulvihill, who successfully appealed the council’s decision to allow the development of the centre, emphasised that she was not asking An Bord Pleanála to refuse it planning permission but was rather seeking a modification to the plans to ensure the amenities of her property, which is a protected structure, were not compromised.
Ms Mulvihill said it was also unclear if the hospital would be in a position to carry out the development without entering third-party properties.
The Mercy Foundation said further alterations to its plans could result in the centre not meeting the hospital’s requirements.
Another local resident, Ellen Chalmers, made a submission that the Mercy Foundation owns a number of properties in the immediate area, such as one on Sheares Street, that would be a less disruptive location for the new centre.