Planners draw up guidelines to protect skyline

STRICT guidelines to protect Cork’s skyline from development have been drawn up.

City planners have compiled a major document that could be written in to the city’s 2004 development plan within weeks to ensure key views are protected.

The document seeks to protect views of landmark buildings.

But it also includes guidelines to protect wider views of the city from important panoramic viewing spaces identified across the city such as views of the river Lee from various bridge crossings and views of the city’s hills and ridges from places like the Lee Fields and Bell’s Field.

If the guidelines are adopted, developers will have to factor in the impact of their proposed buildings on these views when applying for planning permission.

They will have to submit visual impact reports showing planners how their proposed building will fit into the landscape when viewed from the panoramic viewing spaces.

The planning department said most of the views to be protected are long established but may come under threat due to the development of sites within viewing corridors.

Views of Saint Anne’s Church in Shandon, St FinBarr’s Cathedral, Holy Trinity Church and Blackrock Castle, from different vantage points around the city, are among the views to get special protection.

However, Cllr Mairín Quill, while welcoming the document, said it was being introduced too late.

She said the development of Jury’s Hotel and an apartment complex on the Western Road had destroyed wonderful views of St FinBarr’s Cathedral.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Fergal Dennehy said some views of the landmark Dennehy’s Cross Church would be obliterated if planning permission is granted for a large apartment complex next door on the site of the former Dennehy Cross garage showrooms.

City councillors voted this week to press ahead with the introduction of the guidelines. A draft version of the Cork City Views and Prospects document, is now available for public consultation.

Councillors are expected to vote on the final document before Christmas.

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