HSE to pay €80,000 for staff parking at sports clubs

HEALTH chiefs will fork out almost €80,000 this year on a deal that allows staff of Munster’s biggest hospital to park on the grounds of two sports clubs.

The HSE Southern Area yesterday confirmed it has reached agreement with Bishopstown GAA club and its neighbour, Highfield Rugby Club, to establish park and walk sites on their grounds for Cork University Hospital (CUH) staff.

The move follows a decision by city planners last week to give the Bishopstown project the go-ahead, despite fierce objections from locals.

A spokesman said planning permission was granted for three years.

Club officials will have to apply for planning permission at the end of that period if they want to continue running the facility.

It was not clear last night when the project would start but 50 spaces will be made available in the club's car park. It will operate between 7.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

The HSE will rent each space for €3 a deal that could net the club up to €39,000 annually.

Forty spaces will be provided at Highfield at €3.50 each in a deal that could net the club over €36,000 a year.

Local councillor and chairman of Bishopstown GAA club, Jerry Buttimer, welcomed his club's deal.

"We will do everything possible to ensure disruption to residents is kept to a minimum," he said.

Meanwhile, plans by a private Cork hospital to demolish two houses and build a staff car park have been shot down.

The Bon Secours Hospital had applied for planning permission to demolish two single-storey semi-derelict homes on College Road and build a temporary car park for up to 29 staff.

The hospital gave an undertaking that the site owner would, within a period of two years from the demolition of the houses, lodge a planning application to develop the site back to residential accommodation.

But city planners rejected the plan on the grounds that it would not be proper to demolish the houses without any proper or concrete plans to replace them.

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