Ambitious plans to build 266 homes on a landmark state-owned site on the northside of Cork City have been approved.
An Bord Pleanála has given the green light to the Land Development Agency’s (LDA) strategic housing development (SHD) project to build 46 houses and 220 apartments on the 14-acre St Kevin’s hospital site in Shanakiel, overlooking the Lee Fields, just west of the city centre.
In its ruling, the board said subject to compliance with a number of conditions, the proposed development would “constitute an acceptable quantum and density of development in this accessible urban location, would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area, would be acceptable in terms of urban design highs and quantum of development, and would be acceptable in terms of impact on an area of high landscape value, protected views, a protected structure and buildings of architectural merit, traffic and pedestrian safety and convenience, ecology, flood risk and drainage”.
The listed red-brick St Kevin’s Hospital building on the grounds of the former Our Lady’s Mental Hospital fell into dereliction following the closure of the medical facility in 2002. The iconic building was gutted in a suspected arson attack in July 2017.
The LDA now has planning approval to stabilise, convert and renovate the former St Kevin’s Hospital building to provide 60 one and two-bedroom apartments. The other housing to be delivered across the elevated site includes:
- 46 town houses, with 32 three-bedroom units 14 four-bedroom units arranged in 11 two-storey blocks;
- 54 ground floor two bedroom duplex apartments, with 36 three-bedroom and 18 four-bedroom duplex townhouses above, all arranged in seven three-storey blocks and:
- 52 walk-up apartments - 11 one-bedroom and 41 two 2 bedroom apartments arranged in three four-storey blocks.
A creche, an outdoor play area and the conversion of the 630sq m former chapel building to provide a new Office Enterprise Centre are also proposed.
The development will include 241 car parking spaces and 563 bicycle parking spaces.
Some structures will be demolished, including almost 3,000 sq m of former hospital buildings and associated outbuildings such as the former two-storey St Dympna’s Hospital block, some toilet blocks to the rear and contemporary stair cores to the side and rear of the St. Kevin’s
Hospital building; the smaller two-storey former Doctors House; the 50 sq m one storey hospital mortuary building; 480 sq m of shed buildings to the rear of the Chapel.
The LDA was established by the Government to deliver new homes on state land.
It announced last June that it had submitted a pre-application consultation request to An Bord Pleanála through the SHD process in relation to the St Kevin’s site.
But last September, the Bord said the LDA's housing plan required “further consideration and/or amendment”.
Those issues were dealt with and a planning application under the SHD process was lodged in early December.
The entire site was one of the most strategic sites targeted by the LDA for development following its establishment by the government to unlock state land for new homes.
The LDA is also working with Cork City Council on housing proposals for the city’s docklands area.