Infrastructure deficit delaying housing in key Cork locations

Plans for more than 1,400 new homes in east Cork were turned down due to infrastructure deficits.

A lack of 'joined-up thinking' between An Bord Pleanála, Irish Water and Transport Infrastructure Ireland is reportedly to blame for the planning refusals.

County councillors in Cork demanded Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy bring together the three bodies to strategically plan for major projects and ensure suitable infrastructure is in place.

More worryingly, councillors say that recent projects refused were adjacent to the Cork-Midleton railway corridor which is specifically designated for major housing developments.

Cllr Susan McCarthy proposed writing to the minister after Midleton, Castlemartyr and Carrigtwohill lost out on new schemes. All three areas have housing shortages.

Cllr Susan McCarthy

She said the Bord Pleanála decisions related to a lack of water infrastructure and road infrastructure in all three areas.

“There's a blatant lack of foresight, coordination and communication between Bord Pleanála, Irish Water and TII," she claimed.

The lack of infrastructure, she said, was not just delaying housing projects but also long-fingering the Whitegate village renewal scheme.

"Irish Water is holding up works there. These agencies have flawed communication between them,” Cllr McCarthy insisted.

Cllr Michael Hegarty also noted the high-density schemes being sought by Bord Pleanála were also a drawback to developers who will not build high-rise apartments in Midleton.

Cllr Anthony Barry told the County Hall meeting he had spoken to a number of developers revealed high-density projects were not profitable for promoters.

In support, Cllr Danielle Twomey said the lack of appropriate infrastructure to support new housing was hindering east Cork's growth economically.

There is huge demand there for houses but no supply because the infrastructure is not in place.

West Cork-based Cllr Paul Hayes said infrastructure deficit is also an issue in his region. "Development of hub towns like Clonakilty is being hampered because of water supplies being at crisis point.

"We're now looking to source water from Bandon for Clonakilty. It looks as though Irish Water is making it up as they go along,” he stated.

The government introduced legislation more than a year ago where strategic developments with 100-plus houses would be determined directly by Bord Pleanála, rather than local authorities.

Cllr Seamus McGrath said it had been “window dressing” by the government to make it look as though the new regulations would speed up planning but they had not worked.

As a result, he said, there was a serious push for increased housing density in areas where it was clear the infrastructure was not sufficient.

Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy said he also had serious concerns about the lack of joined-up thinking and fully supported writing to the minister to address the issue.

Cllr Hegarty added it was very worrying that Irish Water was 'holding up' much-needed development in key locations.

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