Planning permission granted for student apartments on flood site in Cork

The former Coca-Cola bottling site. Picture: Denis Minihane

Planning permission has been granted for a 400-bedroom student apartment complex on a site in Cork which was badly flooded in 2009.

Cork City Council has given the green light for the demolition of the former Coca-Cola bottling site on the Carrigrohane Road, just west of County Hall, and for the construction of 92 student apartments — a mix of three to six-bedroom apartments — in buildings ranging in height from four to seven storeys.

The application also includes plans to build a student gym, games room, meeting/study rooms, laundry facilities, and to provide basement parking for cars and bikes.

The decision came after the developers, Gainstar Ltd Partnership, answered a request for further information about the adequacy of the project’s foul and storm drainage proposals, and following some minor changes to its pedestrian and vehicular access points.

Hundreds of construction jobs will be created when building work starts.

Gainstar says the project will also help ease the city’s chronic student accommodation shortage — estimated to be in the region of 1,000 beds.

Engineering documents lodged with the planning application examined the flood history of the site and found that it escaped flooding in August 1986 and February 1990, when the River Lee overflowed the Lee Fields and flooded the Carrigrohane Road.

However, the site, sold by Coca-Cola in 2005, flooded to a depth of up to half a metre in November 2009 after the ESB released vast quantities of water from the Inniscarra dam, some 14km upstream.

The resulting deluge flooded County Hall on the neighbouring site, and the Kingsley Hotel across the road, along with UCC’s nearby Gateway building.

They were among several large buildings which suffered extensive damage, resulting in a High Court case taken by UCC against the ESB.

The developers prepared a comprehensive flood risk assessment report which recommended the building levels be raised above potential flood levels, the implementation of a flood emergency plan, and its linking in with the city’s early flood warning system.

The flood report also recommended “robust mitigation measures”, including flood barriers and specially designed ramps to its basement car park.

And it pointed out that the city’s €60m flood defence plan, which includes proposed defences such as raised embankments along the Lee Fields, should reduce flood risk in the area in future.


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