Cork City Council assesses optimum city sites for tall buildings

A study is being commissioned by Cork City Council to identify parts of the city where it might be appropriate to locate tall buildings and higher density development.
Cork City Council assesses optimum city sites for tall buildings

Custom House Tower updated artist impression images March 2020
Custom House Tower updated artist impression images March 2020

A study is being commissioned by Cork City Council to identify parts of the city where it might be appropriate to locate tall buildings and higher density development.

The local authority has set a budget of around €65,000 for the study to assist planning officials in identifying areas where taller buildings would be suitable while at the same time “enhancing Cork’s unique sense of place and community”.

The council said it also wanted to ensure excellence in the design of any tall buildings that might be constructed in the city in future.

It said the publication of guidelines for planning authorities on urban development and building heights by the Government in 2018 required all councils to update their policies in relation to tall buildings as well as building height and density.

The council said the guidelines required it to develop a tall building strategy that responds to the character of Cork and to the city’s material assets and their sensitivity to and capacity for development and change.

It claimed a building height strategy would seek to use taller buildings to mark strategic and local places of significance such as centres of activity, important street junctions, public spaces and transport hubs.

The council also noted that the guidelines stipulate that any strategy should not provide a blanket limit on the height of buildings.

The city’s current development plan identifies two strategic locations for tall buildings – the City Docks and South Mahon – while the council is also examining Tivoli Docks as another possible location.

There are currently a number of tall building developments awaiting approval in the city including a 34-storey hotel as part of a major redevelopment of Custom House Quay which is set to become the Republic’s tallest building, if approved, at around 140 metres in height.

It will be significantly taller than the country’s current tallest building – the 79-metre Capital Dock in Dublin – and almost twice the height of Cork’s existing tallest building – the Elysian at 71 metres.

Other high-rise buildings currently being proposed include a 24-storey apartment complex on Albert Quay, a 17-storey apartment block on the South Link Road and a 15-storey office building on a site bounded by Deane Street, Clontarf Street and Oliver Plunkett Street.

“The aim of the study is to ensure that Cork’s unique and special character is conserved and enhanced by new development utilising appropriate densities, building height and tall building locations,” the council said.

It expressed hope that the result would provide clarity to the public and other stakeholders about the future evolution of Cork city.

The council said it needed to ensure that its policy framework is fit-for-purpose and supported the ambitions set out for Cork city the Government’s National Development Plan known as Project 2040.

It sets a target population growth for Cork of 125,000 over the next 20 years from its current population of around 240,000.

The council said the definition of a “tall building” was likely to vary in different locations around the city.

It is expected work on the study will be completed by late 2020 or early 2021.

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