7 Feb 2008

… I’m intrigued by that planning application for the redevelopment of the Grand Parade in Cork where a company called Frinailla recently got permission from the City Council to build an 8 storey mixed use building on the site of the current Cork City Library. The development includes a brand new City Library, twice the size of the current one. Which means that, as it stood to gain so much from the proposal, there was never any question that the Council was going to do anything other than approve this project. And I also think it’s fairly safe to say that, weren’t the Council getting their library out of it, the project would have been refused permission for reasons of height, massing, bulk, etc. But when Senior Local Authority Officials decide they want a project to progress, the concerns of the usual bunch of middle-ranking-folder-carrying-council-corridor-crawlers (the people who give the likes of you and me a hard time) are generally ignored. 

Which, to me, means the Council should never have been involved in adjudicating the application in the first place.

The last bald statement was intended to be the end of the current article. But then I looked up the planning application and found out there was more.

A middle-ranking-folder-carrying-corridor-crawler at the Dept of the Environment appealed the case (on behalf of the Minister) to An Bord Planala citing concerns that a proposed two storey underground car park which forms part of the development would raise important archaeological issues.

I’m forced to believe that the Minister must have extreme personal concerns about this particular project because, otherwise, I couldn’t account for how out of all proportion his submission to An Bord actually is. It’s so overblown (for example, it raises concerns about what is to happen to a piece of ‘mock’ medieval city wall (which the submission acknowledges as ‘mock’) currently standing inside the lobby of the existing library and which was only built in the 1970s as an ‘echo of the past’ kind of thing) it makes you wonder if the Minister’s motive is really to do with archaeology at all or if he’s using his limited powers of comment to block the whole development.

Conclusion? Neither the City Council nor the Minister are playing it straight. If any of the officials involved in this stupid situation took their responsibilities toward the rest of us seriously, they’d be sitting around the table night and day figuring out ways to improve a planning system which is becoming daily more obscene.

Would it be too much to ask that you drop your sanctimoniousness, organise a meeting  amongst yourselves and resolve the archaeology issues (but, by the way, keeping the underground parking – we’ve all parked cars underground in better cities than Cork) and resolve to stop wasting everyone’s time, money and patience on your chatter. 

Here are the latest Department guidelines on what we should be putting on our floors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aLIc-lFXTQ

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