A hospital foundation says it now has to look for a new site in Cork City for its proposed cancer care centre after the project was shot down by An Bord Pleanála.
The planning appeals board overturned Cork City Council’s decision to grant permission for the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) Foundation’s facility on Woods St, close to MUH’s outpatient oncology unit, ruling that it would cause “unacceptable levels of overshadowing and loss of daylight” to a neighbouring property on Dyke Parade.
Among the concerns of the person who brought the appeal was the impact the new building would have on the amenity of a yard to the rear of her property.
The MUH foundation had sought planning for a two and partly three-storey complex consisting of offices, reception, waiting area, a social space, counselling rooms, a reading room and ancillary spaces.
The project would have required the demolition of four semi-derelict buildings on Woods Street, which runs from Lancaster Quay to Dyke Parade.
Located about 100m from MUH, the complex would have provided a specialist psycho-oncology service for people diagnosed with, or recovering from cancer, and a range of supports to their families.
City planners sought further information on the impact the complex would have on nearby properties in terms of overshadowing and light.
The foundation’s planning consultants supplied the information and planning was granted by City Hall in January.
But the decision was appealed by Alicia Mulvihill, an owner of No 1 Dyke Parade, who said she was not seeking a refusal but rather a modification to ensure the amenities of her property are not compromised.
She said the proposed development would have a negative impact on a small private paved yard to the rear of her property.
Her husband, engineer Dan Mulvihill, told the Irish Examiner yesterday that the yard is used by tenants as a garden.
When asked to comment further, he said: “I don’t want to go there. The report speaks for itself.”
While Bórd Pleanála said the area of the city is suitable in principle under its current zoning for the proposed facility, it said the development would give rise to unacceptable levels of overshadowing and loss of daylight on the existing residences on Dyke Parade.
It is understood that the Woods St properties were to be acquired by the foundation “subject to planning” and that the Bórd decision will not result in any financial loss to the foundation linked to these properties.
Foundation CEO, Micheál Sheridan, said he felt they had addressed the daylight issues during the initial planning process and had satisfied the planning authority. He said they were extremely disappointed with the ruling from the Bórd.
“It delays our plans to provide a dedicated and specialised space where we can support people affected by a cancer diagnosis.
“However, we wish to assure all those who have generously donated to our cancer CARE centre that we are already in the process of securing a new location,” he said.
The specialist psycho-oncology service was launched in MUH as a pilot project about a year ago. The foundation has already raised €1.1m for the new centre which will provide a quiet, safe place for patients and families dealing with the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, with counselling facilities and psychological support services on offer.
Despite this planning setback, it is proposed to double the availability of the service and get it up and running as a full-time service within two years. It will cost some €80,000 a year to maintain.