Development of BioPark Facility at Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork
In August 2017, An Bord Pleanála granted permission for a BioPark to include 4 modular manufacturing facilities, each supported by its own administration and laboratory building. The independent modular units will share facilities on site, including a central administration and canteen building, central utility building, hydration building, warehouse, spine corridor to connect the modular facilities and on-site car parking spaces. The GE BioPark structure offers a low-risk business model for biomanufacturing based on shared infrastructure. This model improves biopharmaceutical manufacturers time to market and lowers capital expenditures.
Demand for new biological therapies, medicines and vaccines is global. The provision of manufacturing facilities located in key strategic locations around the world, helps to ‘localize’ drug production and ensure that key markets can be serviced effectively. Ringaskiddy is identified as a Core Port within the TransEuropean Transport Network (Ten-T). Its existing and proposed transport networks (by sea and road), combined with an established cluster of pharmaceutical industries, mean that Ringaskiddy is an excellent location for the establishment of a new manufacturing facility to meet growing demands for biopharmaceutical products.
McCutcheon Halley Planning Consultants led the planning process and co-ordinated a multi-disciplinary team to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed development. MH Planning was responsible for pre-planning consultations; preparation of the planning application; delivery of public consultation; input to and co-ordination of the EIS and response to third party appeal of Cork County Council’s decision to approve the development in March 2017.
Key issues of the development proposal included:
- Visual Impact: The proposed development is on land zoned for industrial development, with existing industry in the wider environs and several residential units nearby. Landscaping mitigation measures, such as a band of native woodland along the entire boundary of the proposed development site, will gradually increase the screening of the proposed campus in close and longer distance views integrating the campus into the existing environment. While the tallest building will remain visible in the long term, the majority of the lower buildings will be screened as the planting matures.
- Traffic Impact: Construction and operational traffic impacts were a constraint of the application, given the constrained capacity of the N28 prior to proposed upgrades. The application included Construction Traffic Management Plans and Operational Mobility Management Plans, which were both critical to the success in securing a grant of permission for the development.
Cork County Council approved the development in March 2017 (Reference 16/6365). Following a third-party appeal of the Decision, An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the development in August 2017 (Reference 04.248154).
The proposed development will strengthen the existing cluster of pharma and companies which exist in the area and reinforce Ringaskiddy’s position as a nationally important Strategic Employment Area, creating significant additional employment opportunities in the area.