The planning watchdog has shot down proposals to establish a new walkway at the historic final boarding point for the Titanic.
Last September Titanic Experience Cobh Limited had been granted permission by Cork County Council to erect a pedestrian walkway and viewing platform over the existing Titanic Pier with “sail style canopies”, and to carry out associated conservation works to the original pier structure.
The walkway structure was to be supported by circular hollow steel piles driven into the seabed, while the plans also proposed the installation of a kiosk structure, turnstile and glass screen on the south west corner of the Parade Grounds which was to function as the ticket office and entrance to the walkway.
However, that decision by Cork County Council was appealed to an Bord Pleanala by Cobh Tourism, the Cobh (Great Island) Historic Preservation Group, Cobh Tidy Towns, local councillor Cathal Rasmussen, and Glen Barry.
The submission by Cobh (Great Island) Historic Preservation Group was accompanied by a petition of opposition to the proposal, with 1360 signatures.
Submissions raised objections about the position of the kiosk, the loss of sea views and the impact on the amenities of the public park in the town.
In deciding to refuse planning permission, An Bord Pleanala noted that the proposed kiosk would result in the impairment of existing views of Cork Harbour, contrary to the objectives of the Cobh Town Development Plan.
The planning authority ruled “it is considered that the applicant has not adequately demonstrated that a more suitable, alternative option for access to the proposed viewing platform is not available”.
Furthermore, it is considered that the proposed spire would materially affect the character of the Town Centre Architectural Conservation Area, and would thereby seriously injure the visual amenities of the area.
"The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” an Bord Pleanala said.
The decision was welcomed by local election candidate for the Social Democrats, Ken Curtin, who said the decision “reflects the concerns highlighted by local community and various organisations that would be impacted particularly in relation to The Prom".
"This decision is good news for locals and visitors alike as it protects the park in the heart of our town which is a key tourism asset," he said.
"As for The Titanic Pier, I and others would happily support in the future appropriate restoration or preservation that taps into its potential as a resource if an alternative access route is found that does not involve using The Prom and is in line with overall appearance and architecture of the area in keeping with the spirit and the letter of today's ruling," he said.