Councillors are warning that a proposed multi-million euro housing development cannot proceed in an already traffic-congested town without an advance major upgrade of a seriously inadequate road infrastructure.
The huge project at Ballinglanna, Glanmire, Co Cork, will bypass the local authority planners and will be determined by An Bord Pleanála as the application has been lodged by the promoters as a Strategic Housing Development.
As some councillors warned the project could completely paralyse traffic movements in the town which is 8km from Cork city, An Bord Pleanála has asked Cork County Council officials and elected members for their views on the O’Flynn Construction plans.
The company wants to build 608 residential units on a 31.5 hectare site to the south-east of the satellite town.
The O’Flynn Construction proposals also involve the development of a crèche, retail units and community centre/sports hall.
In addition, the plan includes the creation of play areas, amenity walkways and the earmarking of a 1.2-hectare site for a 16-classroom national school.
Initially, the company proposed building around 500 homes but due to a government demand for higher density sites, the company has added just over 100 duplex apartments to the project.
Council officials presented the proposals at a meeting of local councillors, who represent the Cobh/Glanmire municipal district, to seek their views.
Officials said there had been a number of pre-planning meetings between the applicant and the council and the project’s principle is supported by the County Development Plan, while the increase in density is in line with national guidance.
The County Development Plan identifies a need for 1,320 new housing units to be built in Glanmire by 2022.
Council officials pointed out that two previous large planning applications in the area had been refused in the past due to the poor local road network. However, they said improvements plans were in place and the €100m upgrade of Jack Lynch Tunnel/Dunkettle interchange would also help accommodate the increased traffic which would be generated by the O’Flynn development.
A plan has been worked out whereby local road upgrade funding will come from the Government along with special contributions from the developer.
Cllr Cathal Rasmussen welcomed, in principle the huge development but warned there was already significant traffic congestion in the area and it would be at least four years before the tunnel interchange upgrade was completed.
Council officials stated that the houses would be built in phases as local road infrastructure improved.
Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan said around 20 different road improvements would have to be undertaken in the area to prevent gridlock if such a development was to take place and he would insist they were in place before any meaningful construction commenced.
He was concerned there was no current plan to upgrade the narrow, windy, East Cliff road which could potentially carry a lot of traffic out of the Ballinglanna development. Mr O’Sullivan said he was also concerned about the steep gradients in parts of the Ballinglanna development.
“Traffic in Glanmire as it stands is absolutely crazy. The right infrastructure has to be in place for the entire Glanmire area,” Cllr Sinead Shepperd said.
Both agreed with Cllr Ger Keohane who said he’s very concerned the new development will be connected to a road which runs through Fernwood Estate.
He said if the application was granted special conditions had to be put in place to ensure residents in that estate did not face disruption during construction.
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