Plans for new cancer centre in Youghal on hold following objections from residents 

Youghal Cancer Support had received permission for a three-storey drop-in centre including a courtyard and rooftop garden
Plans for new cancer centre in Youghal on hold following objections from residents 

Cork County Council had approved the demolition of the existing two-storey Youghal Cancer Support Centre and the construction of a new three-storey centre. File picture

Plans for a new cancer support drop-in centre in Youghal, Co Cork, have been put on hold following objections from local residents.

Several parties including the Strand Street and the Mall Residents’ Committee have lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork County Council to grant permission for the demolition of the existing two-storey Youghal Cancer Support Centre on Friar St in the east Cork town.

The decision also allows the Youghal Cancer Support charity to construct a new three-storey drop-in centre which will include a courtyard and rooftop garden on the same site.

The centre provides a range of services to patients diagnosed with cancer including counselling, reiki, art classes, nutritional coaching, legal advice, and workshops.

The spokesperson of the residents’ committee, Ester Revins, said locals were greatly concerned that the proposed demolition of the existing building would damage the already unstable building next door. The former Horgan’s cinema closed in 1988 before trading as a Jack O’Patsy pottery shop as well as a restaurant and craft centre before it finally closed its doors permanently in 2012.

Ms Revins said the former cinema building already posed “a deathly risk” to residents but the problem had been ignored by its owner and the council. She said: 

The roofs and walls of the building are falling into our back gardens, rendering them unusable. 

She said local people were also concerned about the height of the new drop-in centre which they feared would overshadow their homes and that its design was “totally out of character” with Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the town.

The Friar St site is located in an architectural conservation area.

Other concerns included a lack of parking for people using the drop-in centre and its knock-on effect on parking for residents on Strand St and the Mall, according to locals.

Ms Revins said there was also a concern about the effect the development would have on the charitable status of the Youghal Cancer Support Centre and what might happen to the building in future if it became untenable.

Objectors stressed that they supported the existing Youghal Cancer Support Centre and the vital service that the charity provides to cancer patients.

Consultants for the charity said that the new building would provide a diverse range of experiences for cancer patients and would be “rather calm and simple.”

They said the design of the new centre would be a “complementary contrast” to other buildings on the street but would still be respectful of the historic architecture of the area.

A ruling by An Bord Pleanála on the appeal is due by mid-December.

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