Reply To: Look at de state of Cork, like!

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@phil wrote:

Can you elaborate on this a bit more? To what extent was it to be a gift? What was the Nautical Notion? I apolagise if this is further back in this thread, but I dont recall it and there is so much on this thread that it would be difficult to find.



Yeah Phil, while providing the finishing touches to their 100m euro City Quarter development on Lapps Quay (which = 190 bedroom Clarion Hotel, 80,000sq ft + offices, 17,000sq ft retail, leisure centre, 265-space underground car-park, reconstructed quayside and promenade, boardwalk, docking pontoon, cafes etc etc), Howard Holdings decided to contribute a specially commissioned sculpture, 12.9m high, of a quill which was to be located outside the Clarion’s front entrance. The sculpture, 500,000euros worth (and not in the original plans), allowed the developers utilise a Cork City Development Plan 2004 policy which promotes contributions to public art. Greg Coughlan, CEO of Howard Holdings is originally from Cork, and since he moved back to Cork from the UK (to concentrate on Howard Holdings’ new focus on Cork city developments), he decided to add the sculpture – presenting it as a gift to the people of Cork, and hoping it would spur similar efforts from other developers in the city (Mr. Coughlan apparently has a penchant for art). The sculpture was highly welcomed by CCC and got the all clear after planning. Mr. O’Scannlain of An Taisce, and who is based in Bishopstown, sent a single-page submission to CCC, in which he documented his preference for a water feature on the quayside. CCC noted the submission, but also noted that the sculpture was not only ‘highly tasteful’, but had been already commissioned and said it was not in a position ‘to dictate the nature of contributions to public art, as such features are presented in good faith to people of Cork city. They should be valued additionally for generosity. The existing application would contribute positively to public amenity and reflects Cork’s history as originally a marsh settlement’. CCC did note however, they would not grant such contributions if they were grossly out of place and disproportionate to a proposed location, or if they contributed negatively to the public realm. On grant of the sculpture, Mr. Scannlain threatened the developers with appeal, unless the reconsidered their proposal. Howard Holdings vowed to continue with their plans, and subsequently, Mr. Scannlain used organisation money to lodge the 630euro appeal. Now, I am aware that CCC had run the sculpture by An Taisce for its comments – these were supposedly to be included in the submission, so it would be a documented public file, however, such a move was made on a consultation basis. Following this, CCC still concluded that the sculpture was acceptable. The appeal was externally warranted.

Diaspora – I know you and me haven’t agreed on many issues related to An Taisce, but I have very often found much favour with many of your comments beyond that. I do not wish for this to be a nit-picking issue – but I would simply ask you to consider whether or not you a familiar with the details of this particular incident, and furthermore, the 90% rate of An Taisce appeals upheld by ABP is not accurate according to the Bord themselves. The thumbnail below is a chart from ABP – I think also included in their Annual Report (Statistics) available on Paper-back Copy from the Bord (website may also have details???), regarding the number of appeals upheld as a % of the total lodged. The thumbnail in this case represents the % of appeals by An Taisce which were up-held for the year ended 2003. I don’t have figures anymore up-to-date, so unless they have jump 43% in the last year, I don’t know (?)

Anyway, it’s not a dig, just a clarity issue. I have actually found myself in agreeance with Mr. Hurley down here on a number of projects (i.e. Howard Holdings’ Lavitts Quay development and the Arbutus Lodge development – which was subsequently granted permission following a joint An Taisce and Residents appeal) – something I never thought would happen. But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that their Cork track record is not a positive one. That said, may be this year, they’ll turn a corner. I hope so for the sake of Cork’s progress and the reputation of the organisation itself this end of the country. There’s no knocking in this post, so PEACE people! 🙂

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