A vital €6m transport and public realm upgrade designed to open Cork’s docklands for more development must go through the planning process again after City Hall admitted a technical administrative omission in a planning notice.
The work will delay delivery of the Docklands to City Centre Road Network scheme by several months.
City councillors voted 24-5 last September to approve Part 8 planning on the scheme which includes extensive work on Victoria Road and the Old Blackrock Road, including contra-flow bus and cycle lanes. But it was legally challenged by the Save Cork City Community Association CLG - the group leading opposition to the €150m Cork flood defence scheme.
Cork City Council confirmed it will now advise the High Court that it is consenting to the setting aside of the Part 8 planning approval for the scheme.
“This is due to an omission in the Part 8 public notice whereby the conclusions of the environmental screening exercise, while undertaken, were not referenced in the notice,” it said. “Cork City Council will now undertake a new Part 8 planning process with the design, as previously approved, being subject to further public consultation.”
The council’s director of infrastructure development, Gerry O’Beirne, said: “The administrative error in the drafting of the public notice reflected a weakness in the council’s internal processes which has since been corrected. A new planning process will be undertaken in respect of the proposed works. This will take an estimated four to five months to complete.”
The Green Party, whose city councillors voted against the project last year and warned of a legal challenge, said the setting aside of planning approval provides an opportunity to positively re-engage with the public. Cllr Oliver Moran said people should sit down and talk out the problems.
"It’’s obvious that the current situation is untenable,” he said. “There are 15km of flood works planned for the city that we can see ahead of time will be challenged ferociously and effectively at every turn.
“Instead of slugging it out at each turn, we need to shift our attention to what we agree on, and work back from there. What Cork City Council was trying to do with this project from a transport perspective is mission-critical to opening the Docklands.
“So let’’s use the opportunity we have now to re-engage, learn, collaborate, problem-solve and to work together to move beyond where we are."
Officials say the upgrade is key to unlocking the potential of the docklands, the construction of thousands of new homes and the creation of thousands of jobs.