Planning board upholds application for 15-storey office tower in Cork

An Taisce had said it could set an unfavourable precedent for tall buildings in the city centre

An  artist’s impression of the Prism building planned for  Cork

An artist’s impression of the Prism building planned for Cork


An Bórd Pleanála has upheld a planning application for a €20 million office tower in Cork city centre despite opposition by senior planners to its 15-storey height.

The developers of the triangular Prism Building on Tuesday welcomed the decision, and said work could start within months on the site next to the bus station and bounded by Clontarf Street, Deane Street and Lower Oliver Plunkett Street.

They also said extensive pre-planning works for their €250 million 34-storey tower project on a nearby Custom House site were at an advanced stage.

The planning appeals board upheld the decision by Cork City Council in favour of the Prism last October. The tower, inspired by New York’s Flatiron building, was granted planning despite senior planners’ recommendation that it be refused due to its height.

Pat Ledwidge, Cork city’s now retired head of planning, disagreed, spelling out “exceptional circumstances” in which tall buildings could be accommodated. In this case, he said, the reasons included the visual quality of the building, its proximity to public transport hubs, and the site’s long-term under-utilisation.

An Taisce appealed, saying it could set an unfavourable precedent for the construction of tall buildings in the city centre island, and would impact on important views. However, the board said it had regard to national and local planning policies, national building height guidelines, the existing character and pattern of development in the area, and the design, layout, form, mass and height of the proposal.

The building would “enhance the skyline”, and would “not have a significant and detrimental impact on any important views and vistas”, the board added.

Policy guidance

It also said the project would be consistent with policy guidance to secure higher density development in city centre areas, and would integrate with the “established character of the sensitive historic city centre”.

The Prism, designed by Reddy Architects + Urbanism, will accommodate 600 workers at 300 work stations within its 60,000sq ft of office space. More than 100 people will be employed during construction.

Conor Lee, Tower Holdings’ director of operations in Ireland, said it would regenerate that area of the city centre.