Several Cork city councillors have spoken out against the controversial revamp of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which is now being assessed by planners.
As the deadline for public submissions on the planning application from Páirc Uí Chaoimh CTR passed, several public representatives published their submissions.
Green Party councillors said a key part of the application requires a material contravention of the city development plan, while independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said he had concerns about the ecological impact on the Atlantic Pond, and he called for "a proper transport plan" to and from the stadium.
A planning decision is expected next month.
Just four years after the stadium was rebuilt, Páirc Uí Chaoimh CTR has applied for planning permission for the internal reorganisation and redevelopment of its south stand to include a new GAA museum, exhibition space, visitor centre and cafe, to develop new entrances to the existing city end and Blackrock end, for new bike parking stations and for a new children's playground near the Atlantic Pond.
Permission has been sought for ancillary uses to allow for the hosting of conferences and events, hospitality and meetings, with revised access and egress arrangements to the stadium, including car and bus pick-up and drop-off areas at the city end and Blackrock end.
But its proposal to build two car parks on public land, on either end of the all-weather pitch, has generated controversy.
Stadium directors insist the revamp, and the car parks in particular, are vital for its viability, rejecting assertions the car parks are “a land grab” and will destroy the vision for Marina Park – the new linear public park which is set to open around the stadium campus soon.
In his submission, Mr McCarthy said while he supports the museum and cafe elements, he has serious ecological concerns about the construction of a car park next to the Atlantic Pond. He said the car parking issue linked to stadium events has never been fully resolved, and a proper transport plan to and from the stadium is needed.
“Even at the most recent matches, cars were still parked across green spaces and in the new bike lanes on Centre Park Road and beyond – and the crowd at that match was smaller than usual because of Covid measures,” he said.
In their submission, Green Party councillors, Oliver Moran, Dan Boyle, Colette Finn and Green Left councillor Lorna Bogue, said while the applicants have argued that the proposed car park at the Blackrock end qualifies as public open space, the configuration and description makes clear its intended use will be primarily for that associated with the stadium.
“This is very different to the examples cited by the applicant of car parking provided by Cork City Council at the Marina Park, Atlantic Pond, Tramore Valley Park and the Regional Park in Ballincollig, which are very clearly associated in their primary intended use with the use of the those parks and public spaces as public open space,” they said.
A separate submission by Ms Bogue and Mr Moran questions the decision by city officials to grant consent for the planning application to be lodged in the first place.