Exhibition centre proposed for site west of Cork City

Plans have been lodged for a €30m indoor sport and exhibition centre west of Cork City as work continues to resolve State-aid funding issues blighting the city’s larger event centre project.

Exhibition centre proposed for site west of Cork City

Plans have been lodged for a €30m indoor sport and exhibition centre west of Cork City as work continues to resolve State-aid funding issues blighting the city’s larger event centre project.

The Munster Agricultural Society (MAS) has applied to Cork County Council for planning permission for a “multi-purpose sports, exhibition and education facility” on a portion of their 48-acre Curraheen site, and home of the annual Cork Summer Show, just south of the N40 Ballincollig bypass.

The planning application, which is at the pre-validation stage, seeks permission to develop a 6,489sq m, two-storey facility overlooking the MAS’s existing “show fields”, with a large exhibition hall capable of hosting trade shows, indoor sports such as basketball and ice hockey, and exams for up to 800 students.

The hall can be divided into three smaller spaces with independent access from both the street and externally, and the building has been designed to have a low to zero carbon footprint.

The application also seeks permission to build a storage building to the west, a marshalling yard between the two buildings, to provide a car park with electric vehicle charging points, bike parking, a new bus stop and shelter on Curraheen Road, and some road upgrades.

MAS said the entire complex will complement its agricultural, educational, and local business activities.

MAS chairman Gerard Murphy stressed that the facility will not be targetting the large-scale events or concerts the Cork Event Centre is likely to host.

Pending a favourable planning decision, the MAS will then seek to secure funding for the project.

Earlier this year, UCC announced its intention to develop a large sports campus on an adjoining site in Curraheen.

Meanwhile, Cork City Council is still considering BAM’s planning application for the estimated €80m, 6,000-capacity event centre it plans to build on South Main St, but which has been mired in controversy for years over complex State-funding arrangements.

The Irish Examiner understands that BAM plans to respond in detail to the request from city planners for further information before the July deadline,while work continues in Government to resolve issues around the €30m State-aid package.

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