Strategic Infrastructure Development – Port of Cork
The Port of Cork Company is a commercial semi-state company and a Tier 1 Port in the National Ports Policy (March 2013). It is identified as a Core Port in the TEN-T network and has been awarded grant assistance under the TEN-T framework and Connection European Framework to support the development and expansion of its port facilities.
In May 2015 the Port of Cork was granted permission by An Bord Pleanála for the extension and redevelopment of its existing port facilities at Ringaskiddy, under Strategic Infrastructure provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). In June 2017 An Bord Pleanála granted permission for modifications to the permitted development. The development commenced in May 2018 and will provide for the relocation of container activities from Tivoli, Cork to Ringaskiddy and includes the development of two new berths, the extension of an existing deep-water berth, a new pontoon to facilitate Ro-Ro traffic, dredging works, surfacing for operational areas, amendments to the access road and internal road network and the provision of a replacement pier and community facilities.
McCutcheon Halley Planning Consultants led the pre-planning process and have acted as planning consultants on the project since 2009. Significant preparatory work was undertaken to develop a robust and sustainable planning application, including review of the Port’s Strategic Development Plan, submissions to the national, regional and local planning policy framework and undertaking detailed planning assessment of alternatives.
McCutcheon Halley was responsible for advising on, preparing and co-ordinating the submission of the SID application to An Bord Pleanála, including pre-planning consultations, inputting to the Environmental Impact Statement and providing expert witness statements to the Oral Hearing. McCutcheon Halley also co-ordinated the application for modifications to the permitted scheme to An Bord Pleanála and co-ordinated compliance submissions to Cork County Council. We continue to offer strategic planning advice to the Port of Cork in relation to compliance with planning conditions and EIS mitigation commitments.
Key issues of the development proposal included:
• Alternatives: The suitability of alternative locations in the Lower Harbour and proximity to the rail line was a key consideration of the planning application. The application was accompanied by detailed analysis of the suitability of alternative locations;
• Traffic Impact: Construction and operational traffic impacts was a major constraint of the application, given the constrained capacity of the N28 prior to proposed upgrades. The application was accompanied by proposals for phasing and Mobility Management which were critical to securing permission;
• Ecological Impacts: A wide range of mitigation measures were developed to avoid or reduce potential impacts on marine ecology and protected bird species; and
• Residential Amenity: Proposals to mitigate residential impacts included noise barriers, routing of construction and operational traffic, and the provision of a new amenity at Paddy’s Point, including landscaped area and a new slipway.
On 28 May 2015 An Bord Pleanála issued a grant of permission (Reg. Ref. PA.00010). An approval to modify this permission was granted in June 2017 (Reg. Ref. PM.00035). The permitted development at Ringaskiddy is one of the most important Strategic Infrastructure Developments for the Southern Region, providing critical Port infrastructure to accommodate changing shipping trends and growth in port trade. The relocation of container trade from Tivoli to Ringaskiddy will also ultimately free up a key brownfield site in Cork City for future mixed-use development.