Gaelscoil gets planning extension despite opposition

An Bord Pleanála has granted a Gaelscoil on Cork city’s northside another extension of temporary planning permission despite opposition from some local residents.

The planning appeals authority upheld the decision of Cork City Council to allow Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn to continue to operate from its existing pre-fab buildings for up to another four years.

The multi-denominational, co-ed primary school, which has around 350 pupils, is currently housed in the overflow car park at Brian Dillon’s GAA Club in the Tank Field on Murmont Avenue in Montenotte.

The school has successfully been granted temporary planning permission for its existing classrooms since 1998 pending the completion of a promised permanent school building on an adjacent site.

The request for a further extension of its temporary planning permission was opposed by the Montenotte Park Residents’ Association (MPRA) which claims the site is an unsuitable location for the school as it is one of the few large public open spaces in the Montenotte and Mayfield area.

An Bord Pleanála said it considers that temporary permission for the existing school buildings would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or local properties in the vicinity.

They also said the use of the school at its current location is acceptable in terms of traffic safety.

An Bord Pleanála said its decision was based on the fact that the Gaelscoil is scheduled to be relocated to a permanent site. The Gaelscoil’s board of management said it is at a very advanced stage of its two-decade fight for a new school building. While it accepted that the prefabs are unsightly, it said they are a necessary measure until the new school is constructed.

The Department of Education has confirmed that the contracts have been executed between it and Cork City Council to enable the transfer of the land which will allow for the development of the new gaelscoil.

Tenders for the construction of the new school building have been issued with construction work expected to take 18 months.

Some local residents and members of the Save the Tank Field campaign maintain there is a readily available alternative site for the Gaelscoil as a result of the closure of Scoil Eoin Aspal boys’ school on the Old Youghal Road. However, An Bord Pleanála noted that the Department of Education does not own the site of the former school.

The MPRA claimed the council’s decision to extend the temporary permission should be overturned as they were not given a chance to respond to extra information.

The MPRA’s honorary secretary, Anne Nolan, said the prefabs are ugly, unsightly and overlook neighbouring properties as well as not conforming with fire safety standards.

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