Councillors refused last night to rezone a former pitch and putt course in Cork city for a housing project.
The vote to reject the material contravention of the Sunview site on the South Douglas Road, zoned for sports use, came despite a recommendation from the city’s head of planning, Pat Ledwidge, that it go ahead given the housing crisis in the city.
Several councillors said it was far too early in the life of the 2015 to 2021 city development plan to make such a significant change to it.
Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon led criticism of the nature of the proposal, and said the developers should consult with local residents on the scheme.
Peter Bell applied last January for outline planning permission to build 14 residential units on the former pitch and putt course, including 10 two-storey houses and four apartments in two two- storey blocks on a site of about 4,700 sq m.
The application also sought permission for the demolition of an existing habitable two-storey dwelling and derelict structures incidental to the dwelling, the provision of 28 parking spaces, together with a revised roadside boundary and entrance and associated site development works.
Mr Ledwidge told councillors he was recommending the material contravention given the housing crisis, and the need to get land suitable for residential development on to the market quickly.
He said the city’s parks department had indicated the land wasn’t required for amenity purposes, and that the site’s road and drainage issues could be dealt with through conditions attached to planning, if granted.
“I would also have a concern that in a few years, it could be a derelict site and people will be asking can the council do something with it,” he said.
A two-third majority of the 31 city councillors is needed to sanction a material contravention. The 24 councillors who were at the meeting for the discussion on Mr Ledwidge’s report voted 20 to 4 in favour of rejecting it.
However, Mr Ledwidge said it is still open to the developer to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
During a debate later on the city’s housing waiting list, Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Brosnan criticised Sinn Féin for voting to block the South Douglas Road housing project while at the same time criticising city officials for not tackling the housing crisis.
But Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould hit back and said the proposal was for private houses, not social houses.
“There are five landbanks on the northside that should be built on. Why won’t developers build on the northside?” he said.
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