By Gordon Deegan

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission to Dairygold, for a €237 million residential scheme, that includes a 15-storey landmark tower, on the southern-central suburbs of Cork city.

The 15-storey tower is one of 11 blocks containing 609 dwellings – including 257 build-to-rent apartments – set to be built on the former CMP Dairies site on the Kinsale Road.

The ‘Creamfields’ scheme, by Dairygold subsidiary, Watfore Ltd., comprises 189 one-bed dwellings; 338 two-bed dwellings; 48 three-bed dwellings; and 34 four-bed homes.

In April 2022, Cork-based Dairygold announced record revenues of €1.17 billion for 2021.

Board inspector, Elaine Power, concluded that the proposed development, which also includes retail use, a creche, a coffee kiosk, and a gym “would largely have a positive impact due to the current vacant nature of the site, and the high quality of the scheme”.

In a further endorsement of the scheme, Ms. Power also stated that the proposal “is not monolithic and is of varying heights and scales”.

On the build-to-rent component of the scheme, Ms. Power concluded that it is appropriate, in this instance.

It would, she said, provide an additional housing tenure in the wider area, having regard to the site’s close proximity to the city centre, and large employment and education centres, services, and facilities, and to public transport.

In order to comply with its Part V social-housing obligations, the developers are proposing to lease 122 units to Cork City Council. The council had recommended that planning permission be granted, as it is the first mixed-use and high-density development proposed for this area of the city.

The council stated that redevelopment of the site will act as a catalyst development for the new residential neighbourhood in this locality, and will make a significant contribution to addressing housing shortage in the city.

A planning report lodged by the applicants with the ‘fast-track’ application states that the proposal presents an opportunity “to entirely reinvigorate and bring back into use a large, vacant, under-utilised brownfield site within the existing footprint of Cork city”.

The planning report by Coakley O’Neill Town Planning states that the scheme will deliver a transformative, high-density, mixed-use, primarily residential development at a key entrance to Cork city that can serve as a flagship project to stimulate the regeneration of the surrounding area.

In its decision to grant planning permission, the appeals board stated that the scheme would be acceptable in terms of design, height and quantum of development.