A long-running planning row over plans by a developer to build a crematorium on the site of a former hotel in North Cork is set for another chapter.
Classic Lodges has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork County Council to refuse the company planning permission to construct a crematorium on the site of the former Duhallow Park Hotel, around 3km outside Kanturk.
It is the second time in the past two years that Classic Lodges has sought to reverse the council’s decision to reject its plans for the crematorium on a 2.7 hectare site on the N72 Mallow-Killarney road at Dromcummer Beg.
An Bord Pleanála had previously refused a similar application by the company last year on grounds of environmental and road safety concerns.
In its recent ruling, Cork County Council said the crematorium, if approved, would create an adverse effect on a national road where the maximum speed limit applied.
Council planners claimed the development would endanger public safety by posing a traffic hazard by generating the movement of extra traffic in the area.
In its appeal, Classic Lodges claims the principle of the development has been established, with the company maintaining that the crematorium would not have adverse effects on the efficient operation of the N72.
It claimed the council had failed to give proper regard to the mitigation measures it had proposed about traffic accessing the site.
Classic Lodges claims the previous use of the site of the hotel generated substantially more traffic than its proposed crematorium.
It said a report prepared by consultants demonstrated the crematorium would have “a negligible and unnoticeable impact” upon the capacity of the road network in the area.
The company said it considered that the previous concerns of the council about the impact of the development on public health had been addressed, as it was no longer part of their decision to refuse planning permission for the project.
It said it had also addressed issues raised by An Bord Pleanála last year over a lack of mitigation measures to ensure that water run-off from road works to facilitate a right-hand turn into the crematorium would not pollute the Blackwater River Special Area of Conservation.
The company stressed that the site is a commercial brownfield site that already has access to a national secondary route.
It claimed its proposed traffic management plan for the site will allow for the safe and sustainable use of the crematorium by vehicles, with a process for communicating information on access to undertakers using the facility.
The company said it would also promote the use of alternative transport such as minibuses for groups of mourners.
However, its application has been opposed by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, which said it was at variance with national policy about the control of development affecting the national road network.
The vast majority of almost 50 submissions made to the council also objected to the proposed crematorium, including one from the operator of the only existing crematorium in Cork, located on Rocky Island in Cork Harbour.
The Island Crematorium claimed there have been no effective material changes to the plans that were previously refused planning permission, and any amendments were “trivial” and failed to address the council’s concerns “in any meaningful way”.
The Dromcommer Residents’ Association claimed the planning history of the site showed there was “a chaotic or disorderly approach to the problem of finding an appropriate use” for the land.
The group claimed the latest application was fundamentally similar to the previous plans which had been rejected by An Bord Pleanála, while concerns remain about environmental and traffic issues.
Local Fine Gael councillor John Paul O’Shea said he shared the concerns of local residents, and was disappointed to see another attempt being made for the same development.
Classic Lodges has also made provision for the possibility of a second crematorium on the site which has been idle since the hotel closed 15 years ago, which would be subject to a separate planning application.
The company said there would be no memorial wall at the crematorium for the storage of remains, while no scattering of ashes will be permitted for environmental reasons.
A ruling by An Bord Pleanála on the latest appeal is due in early April 2022.