Waterock a solid land bank option

Cities around the country are screaming out for housing stock. The knock-on effect is skyrocketing prices, leading to claims that it will soon be beyond the average family to afford to live in any of our cities. In fact this could well already be the case in some sectors.

The site at Waterrock, Midleton, close to the train station which links Midleton to Cork city.

It has led to an onus on towns outside of cities, but close enough for reasonable access, to step up to the mark. It has also put towns like Midleton, on a good infrastructural line just 20km east of Cork city centre, firmly on the map.

The town has had a busy 2017 with a number of high profile blocks of land changing hands. The former Agricola site on Mill Road, which came with full planning permission for 38 houses, was sold for €500,000 per acre. Zoned land at Charleston House, which has now gone sale agreed, is thought to have fetched in the region of €300,000 per acre. It has also been rumoured that the sale of a large portion of land within the overall Waterock development has recently been agreed, subject to planning permission, in an off market transaction.

Agents say these are figures you would normally associate with city suburbs and traditional commuter belt towns such as Glanmire, Carrigaline or Ballincollig. In this light, there is likely to be significant interest in a 16.98 acre block coming to market, co-incidentally, also at Waterock in Midleton.

Peter O’Meara of Savills says that the town’s popularity with developers is due to “a good road network and the re-establishment of the Midleton to Cork rail line.” There is no doubt that the attraction of easy car access and multiple modes of public transport is attractive for home buyers that might otherwise wish to purchase within traditional city limits. This is quite apart from those who would have towns like Midleton as their destination of choice for other reasons, such as a more relaxed lifestyle, lower cost of living and ease of access to the city without actually living there, etc. This greenfield development opportunity, zoned High Density residential, is situated along the rail line not far from the Town Centre. It consists of undeveloped land of around 6.869 hectares (16.98 acres) with an allowance for around 240 units when built out.

The site borders Castle Rock Avenue Road to the west with a range of agricultural land to the north. There is the potential for further development in the area, as these lands are also zoned for residential housing. It is part of a larger ‘strategic land bank’ identified by the Rebuilding Ireland action plan as capable of accommodating up to 2,500 residential units. A total of €6.5 million in infrastructure aid has been allocated for the overall Waterock development to provide services and facilitate housing provision.

Services in the Midleton area have long led to it being considered an attractive location in which to live. The town is well serviced with retail facilities, bars and restaurants. Market Green Shopping Centre caters for most retail needs without the need to visit the city and it is a tourist hub due to the Jameson Distillery.

The town contains five primary and five secondary schools along with a number of churches and high profile sports clubs. This makes it attractive to the all-important first-time buyer market, which in turn leads to interest from developers.

James O’Donovan of Savills, anticipates a strong level of interest, given the attractive location and the incentives to develop there.

Savills can be reached at 021 490 6120.

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