Born in a warehouse in the pandemic but at risk now because of regulations introduced following a massive explosion at an oil storage terminal in England, Cork’s Marina Market is caught between a rock and a hard place.
The firm behind the indoor food emporium, CPR Properties, and its consultants, remained tight-lipped on Monday night as they assess the implications of Cork City Council’s decision to refuse permission for their application for retention of the change of use from warehouse and distribution use to market and food emporium.
They are expected to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála, a process that could take a year, with little change likely in the operation of the market in that time.
The decision has caused huge upset for market traders and their customers, and left city councillors demanding answers.
So why did council planners refuse planning for something the council says it wants to see, in an area it wants to develop, in an area earmarked for some €340m in state funding for urban regeneration.
City officials, who have declined to comment, are pointing councillors towards the planning file.
It shows how the Port of Cork and Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) both flagged concerns about what DSG described as the “very significant operational issues and conflicts” that arise from its operation.
DSG supplied photographs of unauthorised parking along Kennedy Quay, of people walking close to heavy port machinery during cargo unloading operations, of people picnicking under cranes, with cars blocking machinery.
It said the market has resulted in Kennedy Quay being turned into a “thoroughfare by the general public” and warned: “If this situation is allowed to continue, it is contended that it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs.”
Planning issues like that can be resolved with a little imagination.
But what will be more difficult to address are the issues linked to the market’s proximity to a so-called COMAH (Control of Major Accident) site, a designation which emerged following the 2005 Buncefield disaster