Port company appeals against €160m docklands scheme

Plans for the first urban residential development in Cork’s docklands have been hit by a last-minute appeal from a commercial semi-state company.

Port company appeals against €160m docklands scheme

The Port of Cork Company confirmed yesterday that it has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the decision made by Cork City Council last month to grant permission for the €160m HQ scheme at Horgan’s Quay.

The appeal was lodged on Thursday just hours before the 5pm deadline.

The mixed-use HQ project, proposed by BAM and Clarendon, has been earmarked for a six-acre north docks site, next to Kent train station and overlooking the port’s quays.

It includes some 400,000 sq ft of office space, with capacity for up to 3,500 employees, more than 240 apartments and a 136-bed hotel across eight buildings.

City planners gave it the green light late last month.

But the port company, which is involved in a legal battle with BAM Civil Ltd over the tender process on part of a massive port building project in Ringaskiddy, confirmed it is appealing the decision.

“The Port of Cork has no further comment at this time, however, as the developer involved has indicated a willingness to address the Port of Cork’s concerns, the Port of Cork may be in a position to comment further depending on the outcome of these discussions,” it said in a statement.

However, the Irish Examiner understands that the port company has, among other things, insisted the HQ developers provide mitigation measures to ensure that future occupants of the offices, apartments and hotel will not be adversely affected by nearby activity and port-related logistics, including rail freight.

The port company was among those who made observations during the initial planning process.

It described Horgan’s Quay as a busy, operational port area, handling up to 100,000 tons of cargo annually, and which will remain in active use in the medium term.

It said the area is used by all sorts of vessels, including ferries, container vessels, cruise ships and fishing boats, and that cargo operations here can be intensive, and run 24-hours a day.

“Fishing vessels routinely land their catch on Horgan’s Quay,” one document says. “The types of cargo may have a residual odour, acceptable in the context of a working port quayside, but which is incompatible with adjacent residential or commercial uses.”

The port’s planning consultants argued unsuccessfully with city planners that the development of residential and commercial uses next to a working port quayside is premature, pending the identification of alternative suitable quays and a clear timeline for the relocation of the port’s city quays activity.

It is understood the port company wants the developer to ensure the port’s operations around Horgan’s Quay are “not constrained or negatively impacted” during either construction or the operational phases of the HQ development.

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