Cork GAA applies for planning permission for 300 houses

Planned Kilbarry development intended to offset debts from €96 million redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Cork GAA has applied for planning permission for more than 300 houses on land it owns in Cork city to help offset debts it incurred in the €96 million redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Cork County GAA board confirmed in a statement on Friday that it was applying to An Bord Pleanála for a strategic housing development on 14.8 hectares (36.5 acres) of land in Kilbarry on the northside of the city for the development of 319 housing units.

Cork GAA is seeking planning permission from An Bord Pleanála for some 83 semi-detached houses, 118 terraced houses, 52 duplex units and 63 apartments as well as a creche for the site off the Old Whitechurch Road, which is aimed at increasing the sale value of the property.

It is understood that a large portion of the site has been zoned for housing for several years, with a small portion of the land zoned for industrial use, but the entire site was zoned for housing in the 2015-2021 Cork City Development Plan.

The site, which is about four kilometres from Cork city centre, is bounded on its western side by the Old Whitechurch Road and by Delaney GAA’s club, by pitches to the east, Cork North Business Park to the south and the river Glenamought to the north.

According to a statement from Cork GAA, “should the application be successful, the site will then be sold to service the debts of Cork GAA. Such a sale is in keeping with the wider One Cork initiative [a Cork GAA support group], which is designed to put Cork GAA on a firm financial footing”.

Cork County Board chairman Marc Sheehan said the parcel of land had been bought by board in the early 1960s to develop playing fields, while it also was home to the Ciste na Banban hurley factory from 1967, producing about 90,000 hurleys a year until its closure in 1997.

“There is no further requirement for playing fields in this area, and the land has been zoned in recent times for residential. The shortage of housing in Cork and across the country is well documented and this development could provide homes for hundreds of families in a great location.”

According to the Cork GAA statement, the lodging of the application for planning permission with An Bord Pleanála as a Strategic Housing Development initiative follows from “productive tripartite engagement involving Cork City Council, Cork GAA and An Bord Pleanála”.

Cork GAA chief executive Kevin O’Donovan said the acquiring of planning permission and sale of the site was a key element of the county board’s strategy towards achieving “the financial security of Cork GAA and the ongoing stabilisation of our finances”.

“We are hopeful that the process will be successful, and we would like to thank Cork City Council for their constructive engagement on what is the best use for the site to meet the ongoing need for housing in Cork,” he said.

The redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which saw the creation of a modern 45,000 stadium, was completed in 2017. It was originally budgeted to cost €70 million but was estimated to have cost €86 million on completion, although more recent figures put the cost at €96 million.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times