In December 2015, the first reports of moves to rezone the Greenbelt site at Poundlick, Skibbereen, were reported in the media. Members of the county council’s planning policy committee were told by senior local authority officials that they have been asked by the IDA (Industrial Development Authority) to rezone land for industrial purposes in Skibbereen. Cork County Council, according to their own records, received the first Formal Pre-Planning Query from RTP Company on the 8th of October, 2015.
No mention was made of a Plastic Factory or who was involved though anecdotal evidence from Drinagh, Co. Cork, alleges that RTP Company had been looking for a West Cork site for over ten years. We also know from the Formal Pre-Planning Query that was made on behalf of RTP Company to Cork County Council Planning Office that contact was made in October, 2015, at the Poundlick site. In attendance at this meeting was Mr Kevin Irwin, West Cork Planning Office, and representatives of RTP, a Mr Brian McCutcheon of McCutcheon Halley Chartered Planning Consultants.
It was reported in the December article that details of the company involved were not known at that time even though they had at least one meeting with Cork County Council.
In February 2016, Cork County Council proceeded to initiate the steps necessary to amend the existing Local Area Plan in order to expand the existing B-02 Business
Zoning to the site at Poundlick.
“This proposed amendment involves the zoning of 2.535 hectares of current ‘Town Greenbelt’ lands for ‘Business’ use in order to facilitate the expansion of the existing “Business” lands to the north zoned B-02 in the Skibbereen Environs Section of the current Skibbereen Electoral Area Local Area Plan 2011.”
The outcome of these screen reports, which are in essence preliminary reports, was the recommendation that a SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment ) and/or a Habitats Directive Assessment were not necessary.
The reports did not in any way take into consideration the already known nature of the development that was being proposed.
RTP Company are in contact with Cork County Council and the IDA with regard to access to the site for pre-planning testing and to Cork County Council for maps of the area, location of services etc. Their application process is most certainly up and running and all parties would be fully aware of this.
On April 25th, 2016, the proposed amendment was adopted at the meeting of Cork County Council.
A meeting was held on July 7th, 2016, between Cork County Council and the representatives of RTP Company
- Danny Miles, RTP European Operations Director
- Frederick Labioche, RTP France Production Facility Manager
- Brian McCutcheon, MHW Planning Consultants
- Michael O’Shea & Killian Clare, O’Shea Consulting Engineers
At the meeting, Danny Miles and Frederick Labioche outlined RTP Company’s operations worldwide and also introduced a video showing the operation of one of the plants in France. Danny Miles also highlighted the connection between Vera Daly, the wife of RTP CEO, Hugh Miller, and her home town in West Cork, Drinagh.
Their main issues raised by RTP representatives to Cork County Council at this meeting involved several key aspects of the Planning Application that would be made later in March 2017.
- That the re-zoning of the land was an amendment to the Local Area Plan and not a material contravention of the Plan.
- That the production facility would fall into the category of ‘light industry’.
- That any future expansion of the facility should take account of the proximity of adjacent dwellings.
- That around 20-40 people would be employed.
- That a Traffic Impact Assessment would be an unlikely requirement.
- That it would not require licensing from the EPA with regards to pollution or emissions as it would be within the thresholds.
It was also expressed at this meeting that the planning application would be lodged by the end of August, 2016.
On March 9th, 2017, a Planning Application was made by RTP Company but deemed invalid.
A new application was submitted on April 4th, 2017 by O’Shea Consulting on behalf of RTP Company, registered in Ireland as Daly Products Ltd., for Full Planning Permission for the development of a Custom Engineered Thermoplastics Production Facility at Baltimore Road, Skibbereen, Co.Cork.
The application was reported by the Southern Star on April 24th, 2017 :
A total of 39 objections were received by Cork County Council in May 2017.
On the 26th of May, 2017, Cork County Council wrote to Daly Products Ltd to request more information which was to be submitted by November, 25th, 2017.
November 24th, 2017, the requested submission was delivered by hand to the West Cork Planning Office in Skibbereen.
December 19th, 2017, Cork County Council granted permission to Daly Products Ltd. for the Construction of a Thermoplastic Compounds Production facility consisting of a two storey office/laboratory building, 2 production buildings, 4 storage silos of storage of thermoplastic compounds in pellet form, warehouse, covered and bonded yard for storage of bins/skips, access road, vehicle yards, car park, 2 metre high earth bund to east of site and associated site works and service.
Letters were sent notifying objectors on December 20th, 2017, just before Christmas, instructing them that if they wished to lodge an appeal against this decision with An Bord Pleanála, the appeals would have to be lodged within four weeks of the date of the order having been granted.
In essence, appeals had to be lodged by the 15th of January 2018.
The appeals were lodged in time and along with several thousand signatures were submitted to Cork County Council which in turn were sent on January 23rd, 2018, to An Bord Pleanála.
The decision on the appeal, by An Bord Pleanála, was first deferred to July 26th, 2018 and was deferred again until September 26th, 2018.
Whatever the outcome, Save Our Skibbereen, will be hosting a Public Meeting at The West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, on Thursday, October 4th, at 7.30pm.