A planning probe is under way following the erection of a fast-food giant’s advertising signs on a historic laneway entrance to Cork’s famous English Market.
Cork City Council confirmed yesterday that it has no record of a planning application for the two Burger King signs which have appeared on a structure over Market Lane.
A spokesman said that following an inspection of the signs, planners are satisfied that the structures are not exempt from planning and that the issue is now being pursued through the planning enforcement process.
The issue was first highlighted on social media earlier this week by chef Kate Lawlor, who tweeted a photograph of the signs which have been attached to either side of an overhead structure which straddles Market Lane — the laneway between the fast-food outlet’s St Patrick’s St branch and the rear of the regenerated Capitol building.
The signs are clearly visible on the way into and out of the city council-managed English Market.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Ms Lawlor, a champion of local food producers, said it is not the kind of sign she wants to see leading into the market which is famous for its fresh, local produce.
She said the signs are totally out of place and against everything the market stands for.
Burger King did not respond to a media query.
Paul Moynihan, the head of the city council’s corporate affairs directorate, said planning officials, on foot of the concerns raised, inspected the signs on Tuesday and are satisfied that they are not exempt from planning.
“Having investigated the matter, it would appear that planning permission is required. The council will be taking the matter up with the relevant parties,” he said.
He said City Hall worked closely with Capitol developers, John Cleary Developments, on a range of legal issues linked to land swaps to facilitate the widening and rejuvenation of Market Lane, where the Oyster Tavern has also reopened.
“Proactive engagement between us and the developer has led to the creation of a more open, more vibrant laneway,” he said.
“It is vital that the vibe and atmosphere that has been created here is maintained.
“We are very conscious of the need to guard the heritage and authenticity of the English Market, and of lanes like this in particular.
“We are also very conscious of the need for sensitivity around signage in such areas.”
It is understood that planners are now identifying the relevant parties — the owner of the structure or the person who erected the signs — and plan to write to them over the coming days to outline their planning concerns and request a reply.
Those involved will be given time to respond. But it is open to them to apply for retention for the signs — a process which could take several months.
In the meantime, the signs can remain in place.
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