A flood-affected community has vowed to fight any plans to build on a sensitive site before a major flood prevention study is completed.
The residents of Meadowbrook Estate in Glanmire, Co Cork, issued the warning following confirmation that German discount retail giant Lidl is involved in negotiations with the Nama-appointed receiver who is selling the former John Barleycorn hotel site in the village.
The strategic seven-acre site, which is located on a floodplain, is zoned for town centre development.
Part of the site alongside the Glashaboy river plays a critical role in carrying excess water in times of flood.
Local community leaders have now expressed serious concern that any development there could exacerbate flooding in the nearby Meadowbrook estate.
Some 56 houses in the estate were engulfed by up to 6ft of water during a devastating flood in June 2011.
Several homeowners, some of whom are still negotiating with insurance companies, cannot now get flood insurance.
Jim Healy, chairman of the residents’ association, said: “If they do build on this site, they will raise the level of the site and if that happens, it will put our area under huge pressure.
“We will object 100% to development like that. And the roads system in the area is incapable of taking the extra traffic.”
Senator John Gilroy said residents in the area are terrified every time there’s a downpour.
Nothing should happen on this site until Cork County Council completes a major flood management study for the area, he said.
“But the indication I have is that the work won’t be done until 2017 — which is ridiculous,” he said.
“While we welcome all development into Glanmire, we are very worried about development on the John Barleycorn site.
“It is a very sensitive site. I and the community are 100% opposed to any development on this site in advance of the flood study.
“Any development in flood sensitive areas in Glanmire is premature in advance of this study.
“Let’s get the flood study done and then see how flooding can be managed. But there should not be one inch of development in these flood-sensitive areas until that is done,” he added.
Lidl did not respond to requests for a comment.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved