Inner city residents have objected to plans by the Cork Penny Dinners charity to develop a new day-centre.

Several residents of Anne St and James St, off Washington St, have said the proposed development is not suitable for their residential area.

They have also outlined how their area has been blighted by late-night drinking parties, and have expressed fears that the soup kitchen charity’s proposed project could aggravate the situation.

Cork Penny Dinners, one of the country’s oldest charities which is providing some 2,000 hot meals a week to the city’s needy from its premises on Little Hanover St, and which fed more than 200 people on Christmas Day, lodged plans with Cork City Council in late September for a change of use of its single and two-storey storage unit at nearby 13 James St.

In planning documents, the charity outlined its plans to convert the storage unit to provide space for a part-time doctor service, a hair salon, a range of counselling services, and a training room at the James St premises.

The proposal will require modifications to its roof and balcony area, and will, if granted planning, feature a 391 sq m open-plan facility, including a 51 sq m first-floor extension.

However, a number of residents of Anne St and James St have objected, on several grounds.

They said high walls around their properties are quite restricting without further high structures being added, and claimed that the proposed pitched roof and balcony at the day centre would interfere with light and privacy.

They said the mostly elderly people who live in the residential area have to endure “drinking parties” on the streets and adjoining lanes, “day and night”.

“Student nights out also cause a lot of worry and annoyance,” they said in a jointly signed letter of objection.

They said their cars, while parked on the streets, have been interfered with and that the “extra activity” in the area would not be welcomed.

And they said that gardaí have been called on numerous occasions to the area to deal with the “nuisance.”

They said the charity’s proposed project, if sanctioned, would “aggravate” the situation in their area.

“The opening hours of 8am to 8pm will greatly increase unwanted activity in this area. To sum up, this proposal is not suitable to be operated in a residential area, an area which is expanding with the building of extra apartments, both for students and residents.”

Cork Penny Dinners is one of the country’s oldest independent caring organisations and depends entirely on volunteers and donations.

It can trace its roots back to the Quaker-run Famine soup kitchens of the 1840s.

Today, it offers a hot midday meal and food parcels 365 days a year to anyone who calls to its Little Hanover St premises.

Last Christmas, the food and dining hall was revamped as part of celebrity hotelier Francis Brennan’s At Your Service Christmas Day special.


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