CBA Welcomes decision by An Bórd Pleanála to Approve Morrisons’s Island Project

It's just over a decade ago when €130 million of damage was caused in Cork City by Flooding. There, of course, have been several instances of flooding since most notably in 2014.
For those unaffected, the distress caused to hundreds of business people and many more who saw their homes and property destroyed can only be imagined. Flooding is a problem that has dogged Cork City for centuries. The city suffers from both tidal and fluvial (river) flooding, the consequences of which have been seen regularly over the years. Climate change makes the risk of flooding even more acute and preventive measures more urgent.

The Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) is the culmination of over 10 years of consideration and study of the River Lee Catchment and the complex nature of flooding impacting Cork City. It proposes a necessary, affordable, workable and integrated solution.

The Morrison's Island portion of the scheme is designed to remove an estimated 80% of the flood threat to city-centre businesses. The Bórd in their judgement said:

''Having regard to the nature, scale and extent of the proposed development and to the location of the site in an established, built-up urban area in the heart of Cork City and to the poor quality of the public realm and inefficient use of the riverside area which is dominated by traffic and parked cars, to the poor state of repair of the historic quay walls, and to the severity and hardship experienced by residents and businesses in the area, the Board considers that, subject to compliance with the conditions set out below, the proposed development would deliver significant benefits in terms of reducing the risk of tidal flooding in the area, would provide for necessary remedial works to the quay walls would provide for a much improved public realm along the waterside would deliver a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety.

The the proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the current Cork City Development objectives for the area, would not adversely affect the environment, would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the
area"

Morrison's island has long been in need of an upgrade and this scheme will deliver this. It will include a viewing platform over the river Lee, three new public plazas, a mini-boardwalk and much-needed upgrade and repair to our quay walls as well as integrated flood defenses.

There has been much written and said about this Morison's Island project and indeed the LLFRS scheme over the past number of years. The end product in terms of both the Morrison's Island element and the entire Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme is as a result fundamentally better than what was originally envisaged. All who have contributed to the debate have done so from a perspective of delivering the best possible outcome for Cork and its citizens. To reaffirm this position we welcome that the Bórd has imposed a number of planning conditions including the appointment of an ecologist and conservation specialist to oversee the works.

We are listing below for your information the full un-edited report from An Bórd Pleanála.

Lawrence Owens

Chief Executive

Cork Business Association

 

Board Order ABP-303247-18

 

Planning and Development Acts, 2000 to 2019 

Planning Authority: Cork City Council 

Application by Cork City Council for approval under section 177AE of the Planning 

and Development Act 2000, as amended, in accordance with plans and particulars, 

including a Natura Impact Statement, lodged with An Bord Pleanála on the 13th day 

of December 2018, as amended by the further information received by An Bord 

Pleanála on the 11th day of July 2019. 

Proposed Development: Proposed development works comprising remedial works 

to the existing quay walls, construction of public realm improvement works and flood 

defence works between Parliament Bridge and Parnell Bridge along Morrison’s Quay 

and Fr. Matthew Quay, and a short section along Union Quay close to Trinity 

Footbridge, Morrison’s Quay, Cork City. Decision 

Approve the above-proposed development based on the reasons and 

considerations under and subject to the conditions set out below. 

Matters Considered 

In making its decision, the Board had regard to those matters to which, by virtue of the Planning and Development Acts and Regulations made thereunder, it was required to have regard. Such matters included any submissions and observations received by it in accordance with statutory provisions.

Reasons and Considerations 

In coming to its decision, the Board had regard to the following: 

(a) the European Union Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), 

(b) the Birds Directive (74/409/EEC as amended by 2009/147/EC), 

(c) the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, 

(d) the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2014/52/EU amending 

Directive 2011/92/EU, 

(e) the European Union Water Framework Directive 2000 (2000/60/EEC), 

(f) the European Union Directive 2007/60/EC on the Assessment and 

Management of Flood Risks, 

(g) the document entitled “Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects in 

Ireland: Guidance for Planning Authorities” issued by the Department of the 

Environment, Heritage and Local Government (amended 2010), 

(h) the Guidelines for Planning Authorities and An Bord Pleanála on carrying out 

Environmental Impact Assessment issued by the Department of Housing, 

Planning and Local Government (2018), 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 2 of 8 

(i) the Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines, published by 

the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in 2009, 

(j) the National Planning Framework 2040, published by Government in February 

2018, 

(k) the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region, which 

came into effect on the 31st day of January 2020, 

(l) the Design Manual for Roads and Streets, published by Government in 2013, 

(m)the Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021, 

(n) the submissions and observations received in relation to the likely effects on 

the environment, 

(o) the report and recommendation of the reporting Inspector and Senior 

Ecologist, 

(p) the likely consequences for the environment and the proper planning and 

sustainable development of the area in which it is proposed to carry out the 

proposed development and the likely significant effects of the proposed 

development on a European site. 

Appropriate Assessment: Stage 1 

The development has been considered in light of the assessment requirements of 

Sections 177AE and 177V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended. 

The Board completed a screening for appropriate assessment of the project. In 

completing a screening for Appropriate Assessment, the Board accepted and 

adopted the screening assessment and conclusion carried out in the report of Dr. 

Maeve Flynn Senior Ecologist and the report of the Inspector in respect of the 

identification of the European sites which could potentially be affected, and the 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 3 of 8 

identification and assessment of the potential likely significant effects of the 

the proposed development, either individually or in combination with other plans or 

projects, on these European sites in view of the sites’ conservation objectives. The 

Board was satisfied that the proposed Morrison’s Island Public realm and Flood 

Relief development, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, 

would not be likely to have a significant effect on any other European sites, in view of 

the sites’ conservation objectives other than the Great Island Channel Special Area 

of Conservation (Site Code: 001058) and Cork Harbour Special Protection Area (Site 

Code: 004030). Consequently, an Appropriate Assessment was required of the 

implications of the project on the qualifying features of those sites in light of their 

conservation objectives. 

Appropriate Assessment: Stage 2 

The Board completed an Appropriate Assessment exercise in relation to the potential 

effects of the proposed development on the affected Natura 2000 sites, namely the 

Great Island Channel Special Area of Conservation (Site Code: 001058) and the 

Cork Harbour Special Protection Area (Site Code: 004030) and in doing so took into 

account the nature, scale and location of the proposed development, the Natura 

Impact Statement submitted with the application, the further information submitted to 

the Board on the 11th day of July, 2019, the submissions on file, the report of Dr. 

Maeve Flynn, Senior Ecologist and the report of the Inspector’s assessment. In 

completing the Appropriate Assessment, the Board accepted and adopted the 

the appropriate assessment carried out in the report of Dr. Maeve Flynn, Senior 

Ecologist and the report of the Inspector in respect of the potential effects of the 

proposed development on the aforementioned European sites, having regard to the 

sites’ conservation objectives. The Board concluded that the proposed scheme 

would not have an adverse effect on the integrity of the European sites, having 

regard to the Conservation Objectives for the sites. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 4 of 8 

Having regard to the nature, scale and extent of the proposed development and to 

the location of the site in an established, built-up urban area in the heart of Cork City, 

and to the poor quality of the public realm and inefficient use of the riverside area 

which is dominated by traffic and parked cars, to the poor state of repair of the 

historic quay walls, and to the severity and hardship experienced by residents and 

businesses in the area, the Board considers that, subject to compliance with the 

conditions set out below, the proposed development would deliver significant 

benefits in terms of reducing the risk of tidal flooding in the area, would provide for 

necessary remedial works to the quay walls, would provide for a much improved 

public realm along the waterside would deliver a safe environment for pedestrians 

and cyclists and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety. The 

the proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the current Cork City 

Development objectives for the area, would not adversely affect the environment, 

would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, and 

would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the 

area. 

Conditions 

  1. The proposed development shall be carried out and completed in accordance 

with the plans and particulars, including the Environmental Report, the 

Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report and Natura Impact 

Statement and other associated documentation, lodged with An Bord Pleanála 

on the 13th day of December, 2018 and the 11th day of July, 2019, except as 

may otherwise be required in order to comply with the conditions set out below. 

Where any mitigation measures set out in the Environmental Report and Natura 

Impact Statement or any conditions of this approval require further details to be 

prepared by or on behalf of the local authority, these details shall be placed on 

the file and retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of clarity and the proper planning and sustainable 

development of the area and to ensure the protection of the environment. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 5 of 8 

  1. The mitigation measures and associated monitoring outlined in the plans and 

particulars submitted with the application and as amended by the Further 

Information response received by An Bord Pleanala on the 11th day of July 

2019, including the Environmental Report and Natural Impact Statement, shall 

be carried out in full, except as may otherwise be required in order to comply 

with other conditions. Prior to commencement of the development, details of a 

time schedule for implementation of the mitigation measures and associated 

monitoring shall be prepared by the local authority and placed on the file and 

retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of clarity and protection of the environment and in the 

interest of public health. 

  1. Prior to the commencement of development, the local authority or any agent 

acting on its behalf shall prepare in consultation with the relevant statutory 

agencies, a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP), that 

adheres to best practice environmental management. The CEMP shall include 

specific proposals for monitoring of the effectiveness of the environmental 

management measures outlined in the CEMP, shall include hours of working 

for the construction of the proposed development and shall be placed on the file 

and retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of protecting the environment, protection of European 

sites and in the interest of public health. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 6 of 8 

  1. Prior to the commencement of the development, details of measures to protect 

fisheries and the water quality of the river systems shall be outlined and placed 

on file. Full regard shall be had to the Inland Fisheries Ireland’s published 

updated guidelines for construction works near waterways (Guidelines on 

Protection of Fisheries during Construction Works in and Adjacent to Waters, 

2016). A programme of water quality monitoring shall be prepared in 

consultation with the Contractor, the local authority and relevant statutory 

agencies and the programme shall be implemented thereafter. Details of the 

programme shall be placed on the file and retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of protection of receiving water quality, fisheries, and 

aquatic habitats. 

  1. A suitably qualified ecologist shall be appointed by the local authority to 

oversee the site set-up and construction of the proposed development in 

accordance with the mitigation measures set out in the Natura Impact 

Statement. Upon completion of the construction stage, an audit report of the 

site works shall be prepared by the appointed ecologist and submitted to the 

local authority to be maintained on the file as part of the public record. 

Reason: To ensure the protection of the designated sites during construction. 

  1. The detailed design of the proposed tie-ins between the flood defence walls 

and Parliament Bridge and all interventions to the quay walls including fenders, 

shall be the subject of a report by a Conservation Specialist prior to the 

commencement of works on the site, which shall be placed on the file and 

retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: To ensure that the detailed design respects the special interests of 

Parliament Bridge and associated maritime features. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 7 of 8 

  1. The developer shall consult with Irish Water to ensure that there will be no 

detriment to or interference with Irish Water assets. Any proposals to divert 

services and/or for temporary connections shall be agreed with Irish Water in 

advance of such works and access for operational and maintenance reasons 

shall be maintained at all times. 

Reason: In the interest of orderly development. 

Chris McGarry Member of An Bord Pleanála duly authorised to authenticate the seal of the Board. 

Dated this day of 2020 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 8 of 8 

 

https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/services/environment/flood-management/morrisons-island-public-realm-and-flood-defence-project.html