Planning board clears way for €60m development on factory site

OBJECTIONS against a €60 million investment on Cork city’s northside, at the old Sunbeam Wolsey site, have been rejected by An Bord Pleanála, clearing the way for a development which can cater for up to 3,000 jobs.

The planning appeals board has just cleared the way for developers Rothbury Estates to develop up to 430,000sq ft of enterprise, office, retail warehousing and other buildings on the four-and-a-half acre Blackpool site. The proposals also allow for a convenience store, pharmacy and restaurant.

Work could start before the end of the year, creating some 350 jobs over a two-year build period.

The project, when completed, will cater for technology and financial services, call-centres and retail warehousing, and local employment will be favoured.

Developer Chris Smith described the proposed Sunbeam Retail and Commercial Park as “a transformational project” for the city’s northside, and said end-user occupiers were already waiting in the wings.

“This is a big, ambitious project and will result in very significant economic, employment and social gains. It will create a major new employment hub in Blackpool,” he stated, adding it tied in with the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) which envisaged a rail link at Kilbarry adjoining the Sunbeam site.

Buildings will range from three to five storeys, with one seven-storey 32 metre building, just under the original 35-metre high red sandstone Sunbeam building. A pictorial public archive of the history of the former Sunbeam plant will be provided on site.

Mr Smith said interest had been maintained during the planning appeals process: “We are already in advanced discussions with a selection of tenants who have maintained interest, pending planning permission. We will now move on to complete agreements with those, go to tender and start this project as quickly as possible.”

He paid tribute to local community and political supporters for their “positive engagement with us”.

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