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Physical Development Plan

This plan maps out the strategic options available for physical development of the University for the next 5/10 years. It identifies the overall space required by the University and identifies how the University can develop to meet these demands in a strategic and sustainable manner.

The Plan has been approved by the Buildings Committee and Governing Body.

Executive Summary

History of the Physical Development of the Campus

The history of the physical development of the campus is traced from the establishment Queen's College, Cork in 1849 through to the present day, with particular attention to the growth in College building stock and lands over the years. The growth in student numbers from an enrolment of 115 at the foundation of the College to the levels of circa 15,500 projected in the College's Strategic Development Plan is also noted.

Academic, Strategic and Physical Planning Context

The document notes a range of major regional, local and college strategic development plans which impact on the physical development of the campus. Particular account is taken of projections for growth in student numbers to 15,500 as outlined in the College's Strategic Development Plan for 2004 - 2005.

UCC Campus - Current Physical Context

The current physical context of the campus is examined in detail. Particular attention is given to the campus in the context of the city. Elements of the physical context which are reviewed include the landscape, microclimate, urban context, transportation and visual issues. Particular attention is given to the role of planting and external spaces as central elements in the formation of the overall character of the campus. The role of the various channels of the River Lee in linking the various elements of the greater campus is noted.

The current building stock and extent of landholdings are also reviewed in detail. The total floor area of buildings both within College ownership or rented is noted at 143,000 m2. Total landholdings currently amount to circa 54 hectares (135 acres).

Overview of Accommodation Requirements

The accommodation requirements of the College are reviewed across a range of areas including teaching and research facilities, academic support including lecture, library and IT facilities, in addition to other support services encompassing residential and catering accommodation. A gross area deficit of circa 72,500 m2 is identified as of June 2002.

Campus Development Potential

The development potential of current campus lands is reviewed in this section. The capacity of these lands and the extent of the additional landholdings required to accommodate the College's future building requirements are examined in detail.

It is noted that the College's existing landholdings can accommodate a further 89,600m2 gross of development, whereas a requirement exists for a further 158,600m2 of gross building area. It is proposed that the college land bank be increased by between 10 and 20 hectares to meet the further requirments of UCC.

Development Strategies and Policies

This section of the document identifies a series of strategic considerations relevant to the future development of the campus. Key policies in this section address issues such as the development of the campus as a city centre/inner suburban entity, the emergence of a greater campus focused on the original Main Campus and the links necessary to sustain the new Greater Campus, the central role of the River Lee as a key element of future development, the retention and enhancement of the unique character of the original Main Campus, locations for future development, the potential of Cork Docklands, in addition to issues such as sustainability, conservation, funding and maintenance.

Commuter Plan

UCC's policy is to actively encourage non-car modes of travel to work and to reduce the number of single person car journeys to and from the University. In order to achieve this goal UCC will promote public transport, walking, park and ride and cycling. On behalf of UCC, Arup Consulting Engineers have been commissioned to prepare a formal Commuter Plan. The Plan has involved a significant survey of staff and students and consultation with Cork City Council, local residents, staff students etc. The Commuter Plan is currently being finalised and should be formally issued in mid 2005. The package of measures proposed are outlined in a presentation by Arup Consulting Engineers presented to staff in April '04 (see aruppres.ppt). It is possible to express your views and comments in relation to the Commuter Plan on our bulletin board. Significant elements of the Plan include:

Public Transport

UCC is served by public transport by two local bus routes (No. 205 and No. 208). Bus stops are located on College Road and Western Road. A dedicated service is also provided from Kent Station to the University and on to CIT. The Southern Orbital route has commenced and services Douglas, Mahon, Turners Cross and Wilton, Bishopstown and CIT. The nearest stop is at the Lough, a short walk from UCC.

No specific bus parking is provided on main campus. Bus operators should obtain prior permission from the reception Centre.

To view bus timetables see

To view rail timetables see

New Orbital Route & Signage System for Cork

Cork City Council has introduced a major new directional signage sysyem for the city. The new system is designed to make it easier for motorists to find their way to and from major national and regional routes and to access parking in the city centre.

The Route corresponds roughly to the outline of the City Centre Islalnd area. The signage system is colour coded blue and white. Each junction on the orbital route has a unique number. This is displayed in the blue rectangle at the top of each sign.

The Orbital route can also be used in conjuction with a route map to plan your journey around the city and onwards to the nearly National road network. UCC is located on No. J16 Western Road/Bandfield.

UCC Easi Travel Plan

As part of the Commuter Plan, UCC has introduced a discount scheme to encourage greater use of public transport.

Easi Travel Plan is a facility whereby employees can purchase an annual bus/rail ticket through their employer and save up to 48% of travel costs as a result of tax and PRSI benefits.

  • No driving worries - no parking problems and a huge reduction in the cost of commuting where fuel, maintenance and parking are concerned.
  • Annual tickets reduce the inconvenience of purchasing tickets on a weekly or monthly basis and an equivalent of four weeks free travel is incorporated in the cost of annual tickets.
  • Annual cost deducted before tax and PRSI over 12 months.

For further details contact the Department of Human Resources on Ext. 3633.

Bicycle and Motorcycle Use

It is proposed to improve the provisions on campus for cycling. A study is being prepared and improvements to cycle shelters etc. are being proposed over the coming year.

Bicycles and motorcyles are permitted to enter all areas. Bicycles must only park at the designated bicycle parking facilities provided. Similarly, motorcycles must only be parked in the designated motorcycle parking areas. Bicycles and motorcycles are left at the risk of the owner.


Pedestrians have priority at all times within the campus area. A number of projects are progressing to improve facilities for pedestrians. Discussions are also continuing to improve pedestrian facilities on the streets surrounding the University.

Park and Ride

UCC is the first University in Ireland to operate a park and ride facility. The car parks at Dennehys Cross ( PBC Sports grounds) and Pouladuff open during the academic year. The car park at Dennehys Cross opens at 8.00am/Pouladuff open at all times and a shuttle bus service operates at designated times - see Park and Ride for the latest timetables. 

Car Sharing

UCC operates a car sharing database to encourage car sharing among staff. A free taxi ride home in the event of an emergency is available to registered car sharers. If you are interested in getting involved contact Stephan Koch at Ext. 3945.

Pay Parking

Parking in UCC's car parks has until recently been provided without charge. As part of UCC's overall commuter planning policy pay parking has been introduced on a phased basis. Short stay/visitor (hourly paid) car parks are located at Perrotts Avenue and Perrotts Inch. A €2 on exit charge applies to staff parking at the Biosciences, Victoria Lodge, Brookfield car park, Western Gateway car park now applies. There is a €2 exit after 7pm for main campus, Geography and Aras na Laoi car parks. The north mall is charged €2 from 5pm on entry (for operational reasons).  Please note swipe key holders can swipe out for free, the 7pm rule does not apply. A more widespread charging regime to raise necessary income to support Commuter Plan measures is under active consideration.

Conservation Plan 2003

In 2001, UCC, with the support of the Heritage Council, commissioned Jack Coughlan Associates, Cork based Architects and Conservation Consultants, to prepare a Conservation Plan for University College Cork. The objective of the Conservation Plan is to assist the university in identifying significant built and natural assets and to establish strategies to ensure their appropriate preservation. For the purposes of the Conservation Plan, the built and natural assets is understood to mean the physical area, including, buildings; landscapes; habitats; natural; historic; art historical and archaeological features etc, owned by UCC. The plan will result in a report comprising practical statements to assist the University in developing policies and managing defined assets and will inform the development of a balance between the physical pressures placed on the University as a third level institution and conservation requirements. This report is in final draft and was published in Autumn 2004.

Conservation Plan 2003

Executive Summary 

The process of preparing the conservation plan has resulted in the recommendation of a series of actions to be undertaken by UCC. These are presented in two groups:

  • General Policy Guidelines
  • Specific Policy Guidelines

A number of committees with functions relating to the specialist areas of the conservation plan already exist in UCC. Where appropriate, the remit of these groups may be extended, or new groups established, in response to these policy guidelines.

In order to understand the motivation behind these recommendations, it is very important to read the full report and both groups of guidelines, but the principal recommendations are summarised below.

  • An Implementation Group is to be established.

    In order to effect the implementation of the Conservation Plan, the University should establish an implementation group, with members representing academic interests, buildings and estates, and the heritage committee. The group should, in the first instance, be guided by the general and specific policy guidelines contained in the conservation plan. The group's responsibilities could include targeting and prioritising conservation projects, and seeking to attract funding for conservation and maintenance. The Implementation Group may also be responsible for the establishment of regular Conservation Plan Reviews, the first of which is advised in five years' time.
  • The general statement of significance, as defined in the conservation plan, should be used to inform all future planning on the site. 

    To ensure a structured approach to future development, it is essential that all stakeholders work from an agreed framework. The Statement of Significance provides such a framework.
  • A Landscape Advisory Group is to be established.

    To ensure a structured approach to future landscape works in all parts of the campus, the University should establish a landscape advisory group to agree improvements, changes in management, and the details of planting schemes. Their remit should also include hard landscaping. The committee could contribute to briefs for new landscape proposals by external consultants, and advise on the siting and inclusion of external works of art on campus. The group could also procure or develop an overall landscape framework plan, which should indicate a unified best practice approach.
  • An ad-hoc Observatory advisory group is to be established. 

    To ensure the highest quality of decision-making in relation to this uniquely important site, a multi-disciplinary committee should be established in order to decide on its conservation, future use and funding.
  • A minimum intervention approach should be adopted. 

    In order to preserve the maximum amount of surviving fabric and character, an approach of minimum intervention should be the preferred option where alternative approaches to works are under consideration.
  • A system of planned preventative maintenance should be established. 

    In order to establish a cost-effective system for conserving the built fabric of the University, funding should be sought for a continuous system of Planned Preventative Maintenance. Future fundraising should also seek additional maintenance and conservation funding.
  • College maintenance and grounds staff should receive conservation training. 

    In recognition of the fact that many decisions which impact on historic buildings and landscape are made incrementally by maintenance staff, it is essential that these staff are equipped with an appropriate knowledge base on which to make these decisions. College maintenance and grounds staff should be provided with training by qualified conservation professionals on appropriate techniques for minor repairs and electrical installations, in order to minimise unnecessary risks to historic building fabric. A targeted training fund could be established to assist with this process.
  • New uses should be compatible with the existing building fabric and environment. 

    In order to minimise the potentially negative impact of any new uses on existing buildings and sites, the use of each element of the site should be considered against what is compatible with the built fabric or natural environment. Where a proposed or existing use seriously compromises the built fabric or environment, the use should be reconsidered. Where it is necessary to have a change of use for a building or site, care should be taken to retain as much of the original fabric as possible, wherever it is practical to do so.
  • Further alterations to houses belonging to UCC should be kept to a minimum. 

    In order to prevent incremental damage to houses that have been acquired by the University over time, further alterations to these houses should be kept to a minimum, and alterations be reversible wherever possible. The current University policy of not acquiring further houses should be retained. Consideration should be given to details, such as the treating of existing internal doors for fire, rather than replacement with modern fire doors, and the repair and retention of timber sash windows.
  • Consideration should be given to existing buildings and landscape when planning new developments. 

    In order to ensure that important buildings and landscape areas are respected as the University progresses, a process should be established whereby where new building is to take place in the context of significant historic sites, consideration be given as part of the process of planning the new building to the impact the new building will have on the existing area. A process of consultation among College staff and others should precede any final decision on new development.
  • The establishment of an Area of Special Character should be considered. 

    In order to promote and maintain good relations with the University's neighbours, and to protect the special character of its buildings and landscape, UCC should propose to Cork City Council that some of the roads surrounding the main campus and areas around other sites be considered for inclusion in the city development plan as an Area of Special Character.
  • Archaeological consultation should precede all future developments.

    In order to protect the potential archaeological significance of sites owned by the University, a suitably qualified archaeologist should be consulted in advance of any work that may impinge on archaeologically sensitive material belonging to the College. Archaeological consultation is also recommended in advance of any ground disturbance on College property.
  • Individual conservation studies of all buildings and features of regional, national or international significance should be produced. 

    In order to establish where conservation works are most urgently required to the University's building stock, a priority list for attention should be produced. This should include:
    • The Observatory,
    • The gates to the north-west,
    • The Quadrangle, to which an overall approach should be taken,
    • The Lee Maltings,
    • The Windle Medical Building.


It is important to recognise that the process (described in chapter 2 of the plan) of preparing the conservation plan has been as important as the final report in creating an awareness of the significance of the site and how that might best be protected in a climate of development and progress. Much discussion has taken place, particularly as part of the consultation process, and two of the most important results of this have been the decision to retain and re-use Brookfield House for the School of Nursing, and the establishment of a committee to examine the future of the Observatory.

Policy for the Naming of Buildings in UCC

 Download Policy here - Policy for Naming of Buildings in UCC

Buildings and Estates Office

Foirgnimh agus Eastáit

Western Road, Cork