No off-licences to be allowed in plan for Blackrock village

OFF-LICENCES will be banned under a €3 million regeneration plan for Cork’s historic Blackrock village.

City councillors voted on Monday to adopt the Blackrock Village Area Action Plan but directed city manager Joe Gavin to include as a condition of planning that no off-licences would be allowed in the water-front village’s new business core.

Mr Gavin said it was a reasonable request and agreed. He warned that developers would be able to appeal the decision but said An Bord Pleanála was supportive of local authority efforts to draw up such area action plans.

However, concern was expressed about the proposed relocation of a historic grotto in the village.

Labour councillor Denis O’Flynn said many elderly people have objected to plans to move the Marion shrine to a new park to be developed nearby. Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Brosnan agreed.

“If it’s been in the same place for generations, then leave it where it belongs,” he said.

Mr O’Flynn called for the plan to be amended to prevent the relocation but councillors said extensive public consultation had taken place and voted against the proposal.

Cllr Terry Shannon said the run-down grotto was on a dangerous bend and would benefit from the relocation.

He said it was now essential that detailed discussions would take place with interested local groups to ensure that a proposed community centre would be able to cater for as many groups as possible.

Councillors also backed efforts to develop a boardwalk along the river from Blackrock Castle to Blackrock Harbour.

Discussions will have to take place between planners and the local boat club to secure that development, Mr Gavin said.

The club, which is housed in a run-down building, has been offered alternative accommodation by the council.

Blackrock, a once-thriving fishing village, could become the ‘Dalkey of Cork’ by 2008 under the new plan.

The project includes:

* A new public park close to Blackrock harbour to be developed by 2007.

* A €2m harbour plaza between the junction of Marina Road and Blackrock Road and their junction with Castle Road and Convent Avenue.

* A riverside walkway, including a boardwalk around the new harbour, to link the village to Blackrock Castle by 2007.

* The reconfiguration of Blackrock Road and the widening of the marina.

* A new adventure playground 500m from the harbour.

* The demolition and re-housing of public toilets.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the Blackrock Castle Observatory is set to open next month.

The joint city council/Cork Institute of Technology project will be kitted out with hi-tech observation equipment in the coming weeks.

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