New images of the plans were released by Cork City Council this week.
But now it appears that the multi-million euro Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) could face further delays after the Save Cork City group, which opposes the works, announced it has applied in the High Court for Judicial Review of the decision of An Bord Pleanála to approve the Morrisons Island Public Realm and Flood Defence.
The Statement of Grounds for Review was presented in court yesterday, August 11th 2020, by Jerry Healy SC and John Kenny BL. Save Cork City are represented by FP Logue Solicitors.
The application was adjourned to November 3rd, 2020 for a decision on whether Save Cork City can proceed with its challenge.
With a contractor due to begin work in early 2021, Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council believes the public realm improvements planned for Morrisons Island will give the area “a badly needed facelift and encourage both locals and tourists to visit and enjoy the new public spaces and amenities”.
“The flood defence measures are currently needed to alleviate tidal flooding around Morrisons Island, South Mall and adjoining streets, which has frequently caused extensive damage to people’s businesses and properties in that area of the city centre,” she said.
According to a statement issued by Save Cork City, the grounds for review include that “the proposed works represent a project splitting of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme and question a breach of environmental regulations.
“Save Cork City contends that An Bord Pleanála has also acted beyond its powers under the Planning and Development Act 2000. The statement outlining the judicial review presents a conflict of interest by the State City Council and a list of errors by the Bord including a decision that breaches citizens’ rights to fair procedures under the law. The application also presents an error within the scheme concerning rare protected species under the Habitats Directive.”
The group claims that the OPW has not examined viable alternatives to the Morrisons Island or the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme.
“It has become increasingly clear that there are more beneficial ways to protect Cork from flooding,” they said in a statement.
“Three options of a tidal barrier have been presented in proposals that cost up to a third less than the OPW flood walls and embankments and could protect up to 16000 potential properties including the entire Dockland area. The LLFRS scheme can protect only a fraction of the homes and area at far greater cost; an issue for the Auditor General.
“Our time is a time of great vulnerability for many people and should be a time for reflection for Cork as we revisit what our city can be. A forced and flawed flood defence scheme that would damage Cork for generations cannot be the way forward,” they concluded.