A planning decision on the enlarged Cork event centre has been deferred because planners say an environmental report is required.
It comes at the 11th hour in the extended planning process for the €80m 6,000-capacity venue earmarked for a river-side site on the river Lee’s southern channel near South Main St.
BAM lodged its planning application for the enlarged venue last August.
Amid concerns about certain design elements, planners issued a request for further information (FI) in October and BAM sought an extension to deal with it.
The company spent some €300,000 addressing the FI issues and submitted the information earlier this month and a decision was due within days.
But the developers have now been told that they must submit a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) to assess the potential impact of the proposed development on protected habitat several miles downstream in Cork Harbour - the Cork Harbour Special Protected Area (SPA) and the Great Island Channel Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The firm has been given six months to submit the report.
It is yet another setback to hit the stalled project, which had its sod turned in 2016 and which has yet to secure its enlarged €30m state funding package.
It is understood that the requirement for the submission of the NIS only emerged after the developers submitted the FI material.
It is understood that BAM said they had screened for potential environmental impacts and identified potential impacts on the river Lee but were satisfied that they could address them through specific mediation measures.
However, planners insist that triggers the requirement for an NIS.
It is understood the company plans to address the matter as soon as possible.
Similar issues emerged during a successful legal challenge to the city council’s Morrison’s Island public realm upgrade.