Green light for stadium revamp as apartments are ruled out

AN BORD Pleanála has cleared the way for a major revamp of Cork’s Musgrave Park stadium.

In a split decision, the board granted permission for the development of a new western stand and associated facilities but refused permission for the proposed residential and commercial development on the sports ground zoned site.

The two-storey, 12-metre stand overlooking Kent Road will have room for just over 6,500 fans, boosting capacity from 7,500 to more than 12,300.

The Munster Branch had hoped to fund the stadium development by building 42 apartments, several townhouses and retail units, in blocks ranging from three to five storeys, on a portion of their five hectare site.

In a detailed 28-page report, the board inspector said including an unrelated development on part of the Musgrave Park sports grounds would materially contravene objectives in the city’s development plan.

“The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning” she said.

Munster Branch chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald has previously stated the IRFU’s intention to proceed with the revamp despite this outcome.

The new stand will house dressing rooms, offices, medical rooms, general purpose and storerooms, retail units, and toilets on its ground floor. Its first floor will house administration offices, a gymnasium, a press room, and toilets.

The board also approved new cashier points and turnstiles, with scoreboards and television camera housing to be erected behind the east stand.

A total of 165 parking spaces and four coach spaces for match-day parking will be built alongside over 100 other spaces for daily use.

The ground’s western floodlights will be relocated to the north and south of the stadium.

However, a detailed traffic study and a light study for the proposed floodlighting must be prepared before work can start.

Local residents had objected to aspects of the scheme on the site, stating that the residential proposals would have breached zoning provisions.

The site, next to Vita Cortex, is within a so-called Seveso area where EU regulations are enforced on the control of dangerous substances.

But the board said submissions from the Health and Safety Authority and the Health Services Executive “did not raise any new issues of significance”.

Musgrave Park is home to Dolphin and Sundays Well Rugby football clubs and is used by other clubs and the Munster rugby team for training.

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