Cork City communities are being overrun with inappropriate housing development. Well researched and detailed objections to development are largely disregarded and summarily dismissed. Local democracy is at an all-time low.
The strong and in-depth objections — based on factual evidence — of the local community to the proposed development of the historical Good Shepherd Magdalen Laundry site in the Sunday’s Well/Blarney St area is a prime example. The authorities have effectively torn up the existing Cork City Development Plan relating to Sunday’s Well.
The irrefutable arguments raised against this development have been brushed aside, the goalposts ignored.
I defy the planners to come to live in the immediate vicinity of the site for the four years while it is being developed to live the hellish experience that the local community will endure and also after completion — the danger to life, health and safety, the total disruption, the noise, the pollution, the gridlocked traffic on already congested narrow, winding, hazardous single lane roads with the perilously narrow — or non-existent — footpaths and the precarious road junctions. The authorities are irresponsible in their denial or dismissal of these documented facts.
Should we have expected any better? This is Goliath against David. The big boys, the planning authorities and the vested interests, have bullied their way through all the obstacles, and local democracy has been trampled on.
Official procedures appear as a mere façade.
Reasoned, sustainable and aesthetic development is quite feasible in the Good Shepherd Sunday’s Well site.
In Cork City, we need look no further for an example than the imaginative, far-sighted, aesthetic and ecologically and socially responsible major development of the Nano Nagle Centre on inner-city Douglas St, including social housing.
However, the land-locked former laundry site is deemed suitable for a development of extensive monolithic blockhouses — a site with only one narrow access point for traffic, and dangerous pedestrian spillover onto a narrow hill with no possible footpath and blind corners. The development will unsustainably double both the local population and the already intolerable traffic congestion.
If Cork is to be a showcase of modern development, there is land aplenty and a host of derelict buildings that could be developed in and around the city if the council had the foresight, sensitivity and will to do so. Must so many of our planners and developers continue to be bereft of visual and cultural intelligence and defy the wishes and sincere concerns of local communities? The greater good of the Cork community, local and farther away, is not served by the opportunistic approval of this inappropriate development.