Plans refused for revamp of historic Cork pub 

Cork City Council rejected application for new building on site of Rochestown Inn on six grounds, saying its design was 'visually awkward', lacked 'architectural coherence' and was 'out of character' with the local area
Plans refused for revamp of historic Cork pub 

The former Rochestown Inn building was condemned following a fire in 2015. Picture: Larry Cummins 

Planning permission to build a new bar/restaurant and function room on the site of a derelict pub in Rochestown, Co Cork, has been refused.

John Sweeney and his son had applied to build the new business on the site of the former Rochestown Inn, a once-popular meeting-place, the building of which was condemned following a fire in 2015.

Mr Sweeney said he and his family had worked hard to regenerate the derelict site to create a new amenity for the local community and to replace the much-missed local pub.

But despite pre-planning meetings with Cork City Council, the application was rejected on six grounds, saying that its design was "visually awkward" and lacked "architectural coherence".

“My family and I are dismayed with the refusal after the arduous wait for nearly three years in dealings and discussions over the two council authorities,” said Mr Sweeney, who first dealt with Cork County Council, before responsibility for the area changed to Cork City Council in 2019.

The sad fact is that many people of Rochestown who longed to see the redevelopment progress will not now see it happen.  

"We as a family are sincere and respectful to the area and wanted only to create a viable business that above all would serve the community and be in our family for years to come. We regret that we have to now seriously consider moving on, leaving the redevelopment to others.”  

The plan was to create a pub/restaurant, a function room, 11 bedroom suites and a separate building containing two apartments.

A computer-generated image of the proposed new development on the site of the Rochestown Inn.
A computer-generated image of the proposed new development on the site of the Rochestown Inn.

The project would have involved the demolition of the existing derelict Rochestown Inn and the construction of a new two-and-half-storey building in its place.

Planners at Cork City Council rejected the proposal, saying the proposed structure would be "out of character" with the surrounding area. They also noted the potential traffic impact the development could have.

An objection, lodged by the Rochestown Development Group, claimed  demolition of the condemned former pub, which is believed to have been largely rebuilt in the 1960s, was an act of “historical vandalism”.  

The structure, which first dates from the 19th century, was formerly known as Kelleher's Public House and was the site of a battle during the dark years of Ireland's Civil War.

A community newsletter circulated by the Rochestown Development Group months before the planning objection said the loss of the pub “left a void in both the social and physical fabric of Rochestown" and that "its regeneration is eagerly awaited”.

Mr Sweeney feels the objection lodged by the Rochestown Development Group –of which both he and his wife are ironically members – was unfair on the project. 

"We fully accept that history has to be acknowledged and would have reflected this in the premises by way of historical memorabilia and other relative facts pertaining to the area, even naming certain areas of the bar after local families and previous owners."

The Rochestown Inn is one of three derelict buildings in the immediate area, with a redbrick Victorian gate lodge and a former station house and railway platform also in need of regeneration.

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