Planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of a derelict pub on the northside of Cork city in the face of strong opposition from local residents whose concerns included a fear it would obstruct views of Shandon’s famous clock tower.
An Bord Pleánala approved the extension and change of use of the former pub, Kay O’Mahony’s, on Dominic Street in Shandon to provide nine new apartments against the recommendation of its own planning inspector who advised that planning permission should be refused.
The board rejected appeals by the Shandon Area Renewal Association and a local resident against the decision of Cork City Council to grant planning permission to development firm, Mavro, for the project.
However, it supported the council’s decision to require the removal of the top floor of a proposed four-storey extension in order to preserve existing views of the clock tower which will reduce the original ten units proposed by Mavro by one.
Subject to compliance with a number of planning conditions, the board said it was satisfied the plans would not seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and would respect the heritage of the Shandon Architectural Conservation Area.
In addition, the board said the development would not seriously interfere with views of one of the city’s most iconic buildings — St Anne’s Church — whose tower is known as the Four-Faced Liar and which houses the Shandon Bells.
The Shandon Area Renewal Association, while welcoming the redevelopment of a derelict site, said the plans were out of character for such a historic part of the city as well as being overbearing and intrusive on the narrow laneway of cottages on Hill Lane.
The organisation said the project was “a sub-standard overdevelopment of the site” which would result in poor quality accommodation as well as being detrimental to the amenities of the Shandon area.
However, Mavro claimed the objections against its plans were “unwarranted, unreasonable and without merit”.
The board said it had not accepted the recommendation of its own inspector because it believed the scale and height of the proposed development would be in keeping with both the setting and character of the area including established roof profiles and views to St Anne’s.
The inspector had claimed the development would “unacceptably intrude” on the landmark building as well as providing substandard accommodation.
Board member, Terry Prendergast, said they believed that the development would not dominate and detract from other buildings on Hill Lane.
Mr Prendergast said the board also considered that the plans for the apartments were consistent with guidelines for sustainable urban housing, notwithstanding the fact that four units were single aspect, north-facing apartments without private amenity space.
The board took the view that development, given it involved the refurbishment of an existing building in a central city location, was acceptable and would provide a satisfactory standard of amenity for future residents.