The €12.5m development of a new school building at Christian Brothers College (CBC) Cork can proceed after An Bord Pleanála rejected an appeal by two objectors to the plans.
The board upheld the decision of Cork City Council to grant permission for a new five-storey building on CBC’s campus at Sidney Hill on the city’s northside.
However, it ignored the recommendation of its own inspector to impose a condition limiting the number of students enrolled at CBC to 1,100 to address concerns by objectors over traffic congestion in the area.
The development will consist of seven new classrooms, a library, digital suite, offices, toilet, stores and new school hall. It also includes a new entrance porch to the main school building and a covered seating area at the all-weather sports pitch.
Subject to compliance with a number of planning conditions, the board said the proposed development would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area around St Patrick’s Hill.
It also ruled the plans would not endanger public safety by creating a traffic hazard or serious traffic congestion.
One of the appellants had called on CBC to introduce a one-way system for school drop-off and collection with access via Sidney Hill and exit via St Patrick’s Hill. Another objector had sought amendments to the plans due to concerns about their impact on traffic gridlock in the area.
They also expressed concern that the new building could facilitate an expansion of the overall campus, which currently accommodates almost 1,200 students between the junior and senior school, to “comfortably” cater for at least 1,400.
CBC said the development would not result in an increase in student numbers, although it pointed out that that there was no planning permission condition which restricts numbers attending the school.
CBC said the number of students could increase or decrease slightly from year to year depending on a number of factors including demand and changing demographics.
An inspector with An Bord Pleanála acknowledged there was traffic congestion in the area during school drop-off and collection times but the problem could not be blamed entirely on CBC as there were a large number of other schools in the area.
The inspector noted a more holistic approach to traffic management in the area spearheaded by Cork City Council might be “a more appropriate course of action.”
Previously, the school said it had hoped to open the new building in 2022.