The project has been hit by delay after delay.
But the owner of Cork Rooftop Farm is hoping that work will finally begin on a new rooftop restaurant off Cornmarket Street in 2024.
The booming urban farm business, owned by Brian McCarthy, finished out the year on a high, opening a brand new stall in The English Market.
All produce is grown on a rooftop above the city on Cork’s Coal Quay and in a market garden in Laharn, near Macroom.
Behind the scenes however, the business owner says he has been battling dated legislation that is holding back plans to build an extension on their rooftop to house a unique restaurant as part of plans devised by award-winning retail and hospitality architects 21 Spaces, who designed The Mont and The Alex hotels in Dublin as well as Glandore’s trendy co-working spaces on Lapp’s Quay.
‘It’s been an incredibly difficult process’
“Seven months since we received planning permission to build an extension on the rooftop in order to open the space to the public and put in a restaurant and we still don’t have approval for a Fire Cert or a Disability Access Cert, BUT we’re nearly there,” McCarthy said in an Instagram post.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult process, to say the least. I understand that regulations and legislation needs be protective in order to ensure the safety of those who use buildings into the future but something needs to change.
“Our cities have thousands of old buildings which have basically been consigned to being single story due to the prohibitive nature of our fire safety regulations.
“Some of the lowest hanging fruit for this government would be to rewrite the Fire Safety Code using European standards. Cities and towns would be liberated from ridiculous rules and standards and a wave of renovation and rejuvenation would follow!”
Brian is calling for change at the highest levels: “I don’t blame the officials, they are working with the legislation they have at their disposal. It needs to come from government. The regs need to change!” he added.
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Delays aside, work is continuing at the site, where a little piece of history is being brought back to life.
“In the meantime, we employed the skills of Will Casey to restore these beautiful 200-year-old sash windows which will have pride of place in the restaurant. This was made possible through grant money made available by the Cork City Council, ensuring they survive for future generations.”