Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence Project
Part VIII Planning Report
1 Introduction and Background
Cork City Council (CCC) has had a long-term objective of enhancing the south facing quays along the north bank of the River Lee South Channel. These quays are currently dominated by parking and are underutilised as a city centre river amenity. As part of this objective, CCC wishes to create a linked pedestrian route along the riverside between the existing boardwalks at Grand Parade and Lapps Quay East. A key element of this route is the length between Parliament Bridge and Parnell Bridge along Morrison’s Quay and Fr. Mathew Quay.
Pursuant to the above objective, it is now proposed to carry out a public realm improvement scheme for Morrison’s Quay and Fr. Mathew Quay (together Morrison’s Island). Planning design for this project has been ongoing in the last number of months and this report forms part of the Part 8 Planning Application for the project.
The proposed scheme represents an outstanding opportunity to bring about comprehensive regeneration of this historic area.
The proposed scheme aims to promote the heritage assets of Morrison’s Island, protecting and creating an improved setting for the existing quay wall, steps and bollards.
Improved footpath finishes on the building side of the quays will encourage property owners to consider changes to the ground floor uses to capitalise on the south-facing riverside aspect and increased footfall.
Architecturally designed plaza spaces adjacent to Parnell Bridge and Trinity Bridge will create safe places for people to sit and enjoy as well as pass through, with the potential for them to be used for events/activities.
Materials have been chosen to strengthen the distinctiveness of the historic quayside environment. This incorporates interpretation, including bespoke seats that take their design reference from shipping crates, providing the opportunity to introduce the names of places that goods went to/from and the sort of produce that was being transported.
Rationalisation of traffic movement and reduction in parking provision, will facilitate significant improvements for pedestrians/cyclists. This includes a proposed riverside promenade (at least 3m wide), where ground levels have been carefully re-profiled to minimise the visual impact of the low-level parapet. This means that the solid element of the parapet is only knee height and is complimented by a lightweight elegantly designed guardrail to provide a safe guarding height of 1.2m to provide fall protection for pedestrians.
These quays are also some of the lowest lying parts of the city centre and are the primary source of regular tidal flooding to the Quays, South Mall, Oliver Plunkett Street etc. Flood defence measures are therefore also a key priority for this area in terms of reducing the frequency and extent of tidal flooding.
The Office of Public Works brought the “Lower Lee (Cork City) Drainage Scheme” to the Statutory Public Exhibition stage under the Arterial Drainage Act (as amended) in late 2016/early 2017. The Lower Lee scheme is a major Flood Relief Scheme for Cork City. Following receipt of public submissions, a detailed Exhibition Report together with a number of Supplementary Technical Reports were produced in response, which are publicly available at www.lowerleefrs.ie. These detailed reports confirm that the only currently viable solution to manage flood risk in Cork includes low-level, waterside flood defences.
Given the synergies between both projects and in order to avoid multiple projects in a short timeframe, OPW and CCC have agreed to co-fund a project which combines the proposed public realm works with integrated flood defences.
The project will deliver a high quality public amenity space which also delivers the required standard of flood protection in a seamless and integrated fashion. It is considered representative of the integrated approach that will be adopted in the design of the OPW flood relief scheme as a whole.
Subject to a successful grant of planning, it is proposed to begin construction of this project in mid-2018.
Figure 1: Proposed quayside environment
The key objectives of the project are as follows:
· Provide an Integrated Public Realm and Flood Defence Project where flood defences blend seamlessly into the public space.
· Provide flood protection against tidal flooding to the required 1 in 200 year standard including an appropriate freeboard.
· Enhance the sense of distinctiveness of Morrison’s Island.
· Respect and celebrate the rich heritage and history of the area.
· Create a high quality, safe and functional environment, which is safe and enjoyable to use by day and after dark.
· Enhance the riverside experience for pedestrians and cyclists.
· Refurbish the existing quay walls to ensure their long-term integrity into the future.
· Improve the entrance to Trinity Footbridge and make it a focal point.
· Creating a Plaza space on South Mall which is flexible for use for a range of activities.
· Provide cycle parking integrated with limited car parking and improved vehicular circulation.
The key constraints identified were as follows:
· Requirement to minimise the solid parapet height above proposed ground level on the quays.
· Requirement to provide appropriate guarding along the quays.
· Vehicular access requirements, including access for deliveries and emergency services.
· Existing quay wall position and geometry, including associated features such as steps, fenders, toe plinths etc.
· Existing junctions.
· Existing building floor levels.
· Existing utilities and drainage.
The work to which this application relates is the creation of a high quality public realm space along the City Quays along the River Lee between Parnell Bridge and Parliament Bridge. (Please refer to Figure 2 for location map of proposed works.)
Figure 2: Morrisons Island Overview
The works will consist of the following:
· The traffic flow within Morrison’s Island will be changed to one-way clockwise only.
· Pedestrianisation of Morrison’s Quay (Lower) and provision of an enhanced plaza area at eastern end of Morrison’s Quay.
· High quality paved pedestrian riverside walkway with a minimum width of 3m.
· To facilitate the proposed riverside walkway, the existing right-angle parking along the quays will be removed and replaced with parallel parking.
· Ground levels along both quays will be carefully re-graded to ensure that the solid element of the parapets will be no higher than knee height (600mm) above the new walkway level, thus maximising the sense of visual connectivity with the river.
· It is proposed to undertake significant remedial works to the existing quay walls to ensure the future integrity of these assets. Cleaning, repointing and grouting along with construction of a reinforced concrete backing wall is proposed.
· Key features will include:
Figure 3: Trinity Bridge and Union Quay Boardwalk Concept Sketch
The public realm design has been developed by a multidisciplinary Design Team consisting of the following:
· Design Lead including engineering and flood risk – Arup
· Public Realm Design - The Paul Hogarth Company
· Conservation Architecture - Alastair Coey Architects
The environmental aspects of the project have been considered and assessed by an environmental team including:
· Ryan Hanley
· McCarthy Keville O’ Sullivan
· Archaeological Diving Company Ltd
The development of the design has been guided by all relevant directorates within CCC, and in particular by the City Architect’s Department. OPW has also been central to the development of the design.
The Morrison’s Island Public Realm project incorporating flood defences is designed to find a balance between the social requirement of protecting lives and property from tidal flooding, the environmental obligation of protecting the environment/heritage, and fulfilling the architectural vision and project objectives.
In accordance with Objective 16.1 of the Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021, this section provides a framework explaining how a proposed development is a suitable response to the site and its setting.
This section demonstrates how the Morrison’s Island Public Realm project meets the relevant development plan objectives in the area.
5.2.1 Cork City Development Plan
The City Development plan is indicative of Cork City Council’s belief that well thought out designs must be at the forefront of the planning process. The proposed plan for Morrisons Island is sensitive to the local build fabric and heritage while also adding to and modernising the city centre. Morrison’s Island has been zoned as a waterfront amenity area that provides a strategic pedestrian link between the College of Commerce and the city centre. See Figure 4
The City Development Plan notes:
“In recognition of the importance of improving the amenities of the areas along the City Centre waterfront the Cork City Council will seek as a priority the development of a south facing Waterfront Amenity Area (Map 2 City Centre Development Objectives, Volume 2) from Custom House Quay to Morrison's Quay as far as South Gate Bridge and westwards through the Beamish and Crawford site.“
Figure 4: City Centre Development Objective, Morrison’s Island
Improving the ability to access the Lee for leisure uses is a key component of CCC’s plan to enhance the city’s identity as a leading Maritime Harbour.
The proposed Morrison’s Island Public Realm project will improve visual access to the water for pedestrians and cyclists. Existing river access will be maintained and enhanced to maintain access to the water for amenity purposes such as boating/kayaking.
It is the objective of Cork City Council to:
· Seek to ensure that the Quayside Amenity Areas as identified on Map 1 Volume 2 (Extract in Figure 4) become accessible to the general public, visitors and tourists;
· Improve physical and visual access to the water and promote water-based activities.
By integrating, remediating and restoring the historic quay walls and improving visual access to the river, within the context of high quality public realm, the project will convert the existing quaysides to an attractive public space. This can and will in turn increase the attractiveness of waterfront developments in the area.
The Failte Ireland Interpretive Framework states: ‘The river channels form the city island, providing a containing function, this allowing the visitor to wander and get a little pleasantly lost within the island.
Transforming space alongside the quays into areas where people can pause and orient themselves in relation to key landmarks and places will benefit all and contribute to a greater sense of Cork as a ‘River City’- Failte Ireland, Interpretive Framework – Cork City and Harbour (2013)
5.2.2 City Centre Movement Strategy
The key principles of the City Centre Movement Strategy include:
· To ensure a more appropriate balance between the different transport modes serving the city, through the re-location of roadspace on the City Centre Streets;
· To improve the environment for public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists through the management of traffic within the central city Streets
In order to achieve a cleaner and less congested City Centre, the Movement Strategy sets out a traffic management plan for the City Centre to:
· Improve public transport journey times and reliability.
· More effectively manage through traffic and improve general travel conditions for all users.
· Creates an improved pedestrian environment.
· Provide a network of safe cycle routes to promote increased cycle usage.
Phase 6 of the City Centre Movement Strategy proposes to cover the South Mall/Terence McSwiney Area. The proposed Morrison’s Island development facilitates all the key development objectives of the strategy by promoting walking and cycling as primary modes of transport in the city centre.
5.2.3 Cork City Centre Strategy Implementation Plan 2015‐2021
It has been noted in the CCCSIP, that the current layout of Cork City does not make use of its natural advantage of being an Island in a river. There is little opportunity for leisure users to spend time by the waterfront.
By enhancing the quayside public spaces the area will become much more attractive to waterfront development opportunities.
“There should be focus on residential development in the area between South Mall and the quaysides, including making the quaysides available for recreational use”
It is intended to realise the above objectives by providing a distinctive, appropriately designed high quality civic space at Morrison’s Quay Lower.
The design of the proposed public realm has evolved through extensive consultation between the Engineering/Landscape Architect Design Team (Arup/The Paul Hogarth Company/Alastair Coey) with the City Architect and the various relevant directorates from Cork City Council including Environment and Recreation, Planning and Development, and Roads and Transportation., alongside The Office of Public Works.
The Twelve Urban Design Principles as set out in the DHLG Urban Design Manual – A Best Practice Guide (2009) have been followed in order to ensure that the full potential of the site is maximised. The design principles are further discussed in Section 5.4.
Key points to note are as follows:
· Proposals have been informed by detailed analysis of the area and its wider context, including an understanding of the significance of the heritage.
· Proposals have been informed by detailed technical analysis, particularly in relation to flood prevention, with proposals requiring integration of specific levels/details.
· Proposals are comprehensive, providing high quality public realm from Parnell Bridge to Parliament Bridge, from the building frontage to the river edge (except at Trinity Bridge, where proposals include the bridge and its landing on the south side of the River at Union Quay). It addresses connections to South Mall, including the narrow streets of Father Mathew Street, Morrison’s Street, Keefe Street, Catherine Street and Fitton Street East.
· With regards to the wider context, the proposals will integrate with the future CCMS scheme for South Mall.
· Working with the City Council, the layout has been developed, optimising the balance between pedestrians/cyclists and vehicles (parked/moving), with the priority being to develop a people-focused environment. This incorporates one-way traffic and a restricted number of parallel parking spaces (including disabled bays). The carriageway width is minimised to promote reduced driver speeds and increased awareness. This is further strengthened by the introduction of shared space at key locations.
· The scale and character of the streetscape will be appropriate for the historic, relatively narrow quayside environments and will include tree planting, provision of benches and the raising ground levels to enhance people’s connection with the river.
· A 3m wide riverside promenade is proposed which creates a safe, accessible environment, which optimises the benefits of the view of the river and the south-facing aspect.
· Existing heritage assets (including notable buildings, the historic stone quay wall, historic steps and associated bollards) will be safeguarded within proposals, facilitating restoration and interpretation of their significance.
· It is the intention to retain as many of the existing timber fender piles as possible. However, the following should be noted:
· Parnell Plaza represents an exciting opportunity for the project. A public space will be created which retains the heritage quayside elements and creates pedestrian through movement from South Mall/Morrison’s Quay to Parnell Bridge. The space that will be created will be attractive for small-scale events/activities and will highlight the potential for redevelopment of the building to the west to engage with the public realm, potentially for a café spill-out area. Existing memorials/artwork will be sensitively integrated. A viewing platform will provide views in both directions along the river.
· Trinity Bridge Plaza will create a much improved approach to the existing bridge, which will respond to the high numbers of people that congregate adjacent to the College of Commerce and attractive steps/platforms on which to sit have been included in the design.
· Street and accent lighting will ensure that Morrison’s Island is perceived as a safe environment during the day and after dark.
· The quayside flood wall combines raised levels on the landward side, with a low wall (up to 600mm) with bollards and a stainless steel guardrail on top. This will ensure that views to the river are not obstructed. The view from the other side of the river will ensure that there is visual clarity in relation to the historic elements.
· Materials are informed by analysis of the wider city centre public realm. The incorporation of porphyry granite on the carriageway shared surface and a mix of grey and pale pink granite for the paving slabs will provide visual ‘warmth’ as well as consistency with the grey tones elsewhere. Stone bollards will be informed by the forms of bollards that were once located on the quayside.
· Interpretation will be a key component of the project. This will combine bespoke features (including the seats which are a reference to shipping crates; as well as public art, signs and panels). This will bring to life the relevance of stories of the area, its history, character and culture. This will play a central part in promoting the distinctive sense of place, which in turn will make Morrison’s Island increasingly attractive for investors and visitors.
· The proposed works aim to optimise the wider regeneration potential of Morrison’s Island encouraging property owners to consider redevelopment/adaptive re-use that will result in animated frontages that capitalise on the south-facing riverside aspect, with its increased footfall.
5.3.1 Environmental Issues
The public realm improvements and flood defences proposed have been developed with careful consideration to ensure minimal impacts on the environment. None of the proposals are considered to have any significant long-term impact on the environment provided that the recommended mitigation measures are implemented, and any impact will largely be short term during the construction stage. An Environmental Assessment Report has been completed and is contained in Appendix B.
5.3.2 Traffic Issues
The proposed scheme will significantly alter the existing traffic flow and parking arrangements within Morrison’s Island. A detailed Traffic Assessment Report has been completed and is contained in Appendix C. Traffic impacts have also been assessed in the Environmental Assessment Report contained in Appendix B.
The scheme will be constructed on an existing street which currently provides approximately 148 on-street parking spaces and will include the re-arrangement of parking quantum and configuration in the area. The proposed scheme will result in a net loss of approximately 115 car-parking spaces along both Quays. Given its city centre location, it is anticipated that some vehicles which currently utilise this parking, will continue to utilise city centre parking including the number of multi-story carparks and surface carparks. It is further anticipated that the removal of parking spaces will aid modal shift to towards more sustainable forms of transport including walking, cycling and public transport. Morrison’s Island will adequately serve all these modes.
As part of the proposed scheme, the number of motorbike parking spaces on South Mall in the vicinity of Parnell Plaza will be reduced from 20 spaces to 3 spaces. This is considered to be reasonably reflective of the regular level of usage of these spaces.
This section demonstrates how the twelve urban design criteria as outlined in the Urban Design Manual, a Best Practice Guide (2009) have been taken into account in the design of the scheme.
1- Context: How does the development respond to its surroundings?
Proposals for Morrison’s Island have been informed by detailed analysis of the existing environment and its surroundings.
The heritage of the area is considered to be of particular importance. In that context, analysis of the existing heritage was undertaken, as well as background research which has helped inform the proposals and interpretative opportunities.
To facilitate decisions with regards to the choice of materials, an analysis of the wider city was undertaken. Proposals have evolved through a collaborative process with the Design Team and the City Council, City Architect and OPW.
Proposals for Morrison’s Island integrate with their wider context, strengthening connections to South Mall (including recognition of the CCMS proposals), improving the relationship with the other side of the River, across Trinity Bridge and tying-in with care at Parnell Bridge and Parliament Bridge.
Care has been taken to develop proposals which have a strong, appropriate quayside character. Heritage assets are retained, and their setting improved. Improved settings are proposed for notable historic buildings. The proposals create an enhanced south-facing riverside aspect. This will optimise the potential for regeneration of the area, with redevelopment/adaptive re-use to create a vibrant leisure-focussed urban quarter.
Plaza spaces at Parnell Bridge and Trinity Bridge will provide opportunities for events/activities to take place, further animating the environment.
Details and choices of materials have been informed by understanding the context.
Figure 5: Key Areas
2- Connections: How well is the new neighbourhood / site connected?
The proposed public realm provides increasingly good, legible and safe connections between Morrison’s Island and the surrounding City Centre environment.
Proposals integrate with the proposed CCMS scheme on South Mall. Vehicles can access Morrison’s Island through the existing road from South Mall beside the passport office. The road access on the east side of the passport office will be discontinued and will be only available to CCiC for maintenance purposes.
Vehicles will travel in a one-way clockwise route through Morrison’s Quay and Fr. Mathews Quay before exiting onto Parliament Street. Vehicles can also exit onto South Mall via Fr. Mathews Street.
Pedestrian and cycle connections are prioritised, relative to integration of one-way traffic and the retention of limited parking. Footpaths are proposed along the buildings of both quays which will connect to existing footpaths at the various junctions (Fr. Mathews Street, Fitton Street, and Keefe Street).
A shared path is proposed along the quay wall which will allow cyclists to move from west to east along the quays. Cyclist intending to travel west along Morrison’s Island will use the one-way clockwise road route. Pedestrians may use the shared path in both directions. The precise layout for the pedestrian/cycle shared path will be confirmed as part of the detailed design process and post completion of the Stage 2 Road Safety and Accessibility Audits.
Connections at the ‘edges’ of the scheme, to Parliament Bridge, Parnell Bridge/South Mall and at Father Mathew Street, Keefe Street and Fitton Street East are all integrated with care, in terms of levels and materials. Good quality lighting will strengthen those connections after dark. This facilitates connections to public transport routes.
The quality of the south-facing riverside public realm will encourage vibrancy and positive use from wide-ranging people.
Figure 6: Land Uses Concept Sketch
3- Inclusivity: How easily can people use and access the development?
The Public Realm of Morrison’s Island will be an inclusive environment. It will promote pedestrian and cycle connections and will be accessible to all, including those with mobility/visual impairments.
Best practice principles of design will promote a safe and inclusive environment by day and after dark, including integration of street/accent lighting.
The design has required care to ensure that integration of increased heights for flood protection do not compromise access/movement or visual permeability of the routes/spaces.
4- Variety: How does the development promote a good mix of activities?
Proposals will enhance and protect the built and natural heritage providing a close connection with the River and an improved setting for heritage assets including buildings and artefacts. Improvements to the quality of the public realm environment will encourage a range of opportunities for redevelopment/adaptive re-use of properties, to capitalise on the south-facing riverside aspect. The retained historic steps to the River will promote increased leisure use of the water.
The proposals will create a vibrant, accessible riverside public realm, which promotes an increasingly good mix of uses. Proposals promote pedestrian and cycle connections, including provision of bike hire.
Morrison’s Quay and Father Mathew’s Quay will encourage safe movement between adjacent parts of the City Centre by day and after dark.
Good frontages to the existing properties, will promote existing and potential animation, including café spill-out space. Plaza spaces at Parnell Bridge and Trinity Bridge will provide opportunities for events/activities.
5- Efficiency: How does the development make appropriate use of resources, including land?
The proposed Public Realm for Morrison’s Island will create space that can be used and enjoyed by local people, businesses and visitors. Vehicular movement will be rationalised, and parking reduced, providing better, south-facing space for pedestrians/cyclists.
Frontage to existing properties will be improved, encouraging better connections between the ground floor building uses and the public realm. This will be a catalyst to regeneration of the area.
The public realm protects and enhances the setting of existing heritage assets (buildings and features) and incorporates interpretation that helps people to understand the significance of the heritage.
The proposed materials are high quality and durable, providing good whole-life cost.
6- Distinctiveness: How do the proposals create a sense of place?
Proposals are informed by international best-practice and have the potential to transform Morrison’s Island to become a place that will be increasingly visited and enjoyed and which will be attractive to investors, encouraged to bring forward a range of developments with animated frontages that take advantage of the south-facing riverside aspect and increasing footfall.
Proposals are strongly focused on the creation of a distinctive sense of place for Morrison’s Island. This is informed by detailed analysis of the area and its wider setting, including an understanding of the importance of the heritage. Proposals for Morrison’s Island focus on delivery of public realm for the quays which has a strong, appropriate, distinctive sense of place. The historic research carried out has facilitated an understanding of the elements which are of heritage value and how they may be most appropriately safeguarded, restored and incorporated within the proposals, including interpretation. This relates to notable buildings as well as structures/features (including the quay walls/fenders, historic steps to the river and associated bollards) Proposals have sought to create a high-quality environment that is respectful of its heritage and quayside tradition.
Proposals will reinstate the quality of the quayside environment, reducing the vehicle dominance and creating safe space to be used and enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists.
Significant care has been taken to develop, through an iterative process, the riverside flood defence detail. This requires to provide protection from water ingress to a height of 3.5m above Ordnance Datum. Proposals combine raising the ground levels with integration of an elegant low parapet and railing which does not compromise views to the river.
Materials for the footpaths, plaza spaces and shared surfacing are of high quality, being durable and technically appropriate. Stone bollards take their reference from bollards which were historically located along the quayside. The use of the grey granite is complementary with the Cork Limestone that is a feature of the buildings. Through analysis of adjacent city centre public realm, colours and textures of stone surfacing have been agreed. The proposed use of porphyry for the shared surface carriageway area and the incorporation of a percentage of pink granite in the footway paving will provide visual warmth, whilst using the grey colours to provide cohesion.
Parnell Plaza and Trinity Bridge Plaza both create places to sit, enjoy and where events/activities can take place.
Interpretation is a key component of the project. The integration of bespoke features such as furniture and artwork, combined with signs/panels will facilitate an understanding of the significance of the heritage of the area, both in terms of what can be seen and elements that are no longer there.
The proposed seats which are informed by shipping crates, provide an opportunity to prompt people to think about the places that goods went to/from and the variety of things that might have been transported. Other elements will bring to life an understanding of the people that were important, culture and tradition.
The design of the plaza spaces at Parnell Bridge and Trinity Bridge will create areas for people to sit and enjoy as well as for events/activities. The one at Trinity Bridge will create an extended space, cantilevering over the River, which responds to the busy-ness of the area, adjacent to the College of Commerce.
Views into and out of the quays have been carefully considered, particularly in relation to the requirement to provide raised ground levels and a flood wall. Through an iterative design process this has resulted in a detail which is elegant and not visually dominant from the landward-side. From the other side of the river it was considered important to visually understand the significance of the historic quay, with its stonework and timber fenders, above which is constructed the new parapet and railing
Figure 7: Proposed Materials
7- Layout: How does the proposal create people-friendly streets and spaces?
The proposal has been laid out so as to enhance the connection with the river while also providing a place of leisure etc. Proposals have been carefully considered to appropriately balance pedestrian/cycle use with the need to retain vehicular access and some limited parking. The quayside environments prioritise use and enjoyment by a wide range of people, as a through route, as a place where activities can be promoted and as a vibrant, safe place by day and after dark. Proposals are focussed on delivering ‘people-friendly’, legible, permeable public realm, which is connected into the wider urban form of the city
The rationalised vehicular movement and reduced parking allows greater emphasis to be placed on the pedestrian/cyclist. Working closely with Cork City Council, carriageway widths have been minimised and shared surfaces integrated to promote slower, more considerate driving.
A 3m wide promenade along the quayside will encourage walking/cycling connections, optimising the aspect over the River. Footpaths along the building frontages will take advantage of the south-facing aspects, catalysing the potential for building owners to see the potential for new, more animated ground floor uses.
The distinctive sense of place of Morrison’s Island is strengthened, which will be attractive to visitors and investors.
The plazas at Parnell Bridge and Trinity Bridge will provide opportunities for people to sit and spend time, including events/activities.
Figure 8: Parnell Plaza Area
8- Public realm: How safe, secure and enjoyable are the public areas?
Proposals balance the retention and enhancement of the rich and diverse qualities of landscapes and built heritage, the continued use of local materials and promoting best practice in contemporary design.
Significant care has been taken in relation to the design of the quayside wall/railing to integrate measures that will promote the quays as a safe environment, whilst maintaining good visual connections to the river.
The design of the plaza spaces at Parnell Bridge and Trinity Bridge have been carefully considered to optimise the movement of pedestrians through the spaces; to create opportunities for events/activities to take place; and to avoid concealed areas which could attract anti-social behaviour. Through routes have been incorporated to optimise passive surveillance. The integration of street and accent lighting, using LED fittings will provide good colour rendering after dark that will promote the perception of the area as a safe place.
The public realm is overlooked on one side of the quay by buildings. Much of the frontage, however lacks animation and it is in that context that the proposals have been developed to optimise the potential for frontages to consider changing the way that their building engages with the public realm, taking advantage of the south-facing aspect and the strong/increasing footfall. Good lighting and care to ensure that the design will promote a safe environment will strengthen the potential for leisure uses /the evening economy.
Parking for cars (including disabled spaces) and bikes (including for hire) are carefully integrated.
9- Adaptability: How will the buildings cope with change?
Proposals for Morrison’s Island respect the existing building forms/uses. It is however recognised that the area has significant potential for regeneration with buildings having increased ground floor animation, capitalising on the south-facing riverside aspect. The scheme will safeguard properties from flooding and create an attractive quayside environment that will promote business confidence in the area and encourage good mixed-use development.
Proposals incorporate flexibility and indeed promote opportunities for such changes to be considered. Existing access/servicing has been carefully considered to ensure that this is not compromised and retains flexibility to respond to future changes.
10- Privacy / amenity: How do the buildings provide a high quality amenity?
The proposals are based on best-practice public realm design principles, incorporate high quality materials and detailing that will strengthen the distinctiveness of the areas.
All of the proposed Morrison’s Island public realm is ‘streetscape’ with a public frontage to all buildings, with the exception of Holy Trinity Church, where the scheme is bounded by the wall/railing of the Church.
11- Parking: How will the parking be secure and attractive?
A key part of the proposals is to reduce the quantity of parking on the quays, so that there is less vehicle dominance (parked/moving) and promoting a safer pedestrian/cycle environment.
Vehicular access (one-way) maintains existing access/servicing to properties.
The width of the carriageway is minimised to promote reduced driving speeds.
Parking bays (including disabled bays) are proposed to be parallel, thereby allowing greater space to be made available for pedestrians/cyclists.
Cycle parking is distributed throughout the scheme, including bike hire, with the most significant quantity being provided adjacent to the College. Parking layouts are as agreed with Cork City Council and in line with current best practice. Greater than 10% of parking spaces provided will be solely for disabled users. EV charging points will be provided at 4no. spaces, and provision will be made for future additional charging points.
Figure 9: Example Parking Areas
12- Detailed design: How well thought through is the building landscape design?
The landscape design is underpinned by comprehensive survey/analysis. This has ensured that matters of detail, including the retention of heritage assets is fully incorporated.
The quayside environments are relatively narrow and require to incorporate specific technical qualities in relation to flood protection (e.g. levels).
This has required that detailed consideration to road widths, parking provision, gradients, cycle provision, etc. has required to be considered in detail, including proposed materials,
Proposals for Morrison’s Island have required to be considered in significant detail at this stage. The need for specific ground levels and flood wall levels to be delivered has necessitated detailed consideration of layout, levels and materials.
This ensures that the balance of space between pedestrians/cyclist and parked/moving vehicles is appropriately balanced. The precise layout for the pedestrian/cycle shared path will be confirmed as part of the detailed design process and post completion of the Stage 2 Road Safety and Accessibility Audits.
All routes are accessible for those with mobility/visual impairments.
Materials and detailing including bespoke furniture and interpretation are central components which will contribute to the distinctive sense of place. Materials have been carefully considered to ensure durability, in the context of maintenance responsibilities
Proposals for Morrison’s Island have potential to deliver transformational improvements, within which the area’s heritage (both in terms of what can still be seen and what can be explained through interpretation) will be a central part.
A comprehensive set of photomontages have been produced which demonstrates the visual impact of the proposed scheme on the quay and the surrounding environment. The photomontages are contained in Appendix D.
This report supports a Part 8 Planning Application for the proposed Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Defence project.
The proposed scheme will result in substantial improvements to the existing public realm and will enhance pedestrian and cycle access to this area of the city. The proposed development will also significantly reduce the frequency and severity of tidal flooding to the city centre. The proposed development is considered to be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area and is in accordance with local planning policies and objectives.
The potential impacts, including environmental, arising from the scheme have been reviewed and assessed. It is concluded that the construction of the proposed scheme will have no significant impact on the receiving environment, provided the recommendations and mitigation measures are followed.
It is recommended that the Council proceed with the proposal as shown on the drawings contained in Appendix A.