Go-ahead for 608 new homes in Cork

Permission for a 608-house development in Cork has been approved by An Bord Pleanála, under new strategic housing development (SHD) guidelines designed to fast-track new homes and student apartments to tackle the housing crisis.

The approval for the development at Ballinglanna, Glanmire, for O’Flynn Construction is the first grant of permission outside of Dublin under the SHD process, which was introduced last year. It is also the first grant of a SHD permission for a residential development anywhere in the country by An Bord Pleanála.

In Dublin, the board rejected an even more significant SHD application for 900 houses and apartments in Clay Farm, Leopardstown in January, while allowing over 2,000 new student beds in University College Dublin.

The SHD process allows developers building over 100 homes, or 200 student beds, to seek planning permission directly from the planning appeals board, after pre-planning consultations.

The Ballinglanna approval came just before Good Friday, more than two weeks ahead of a 16-week April 19 deadline by which An Bord Pleanála was obliged to give its ruling. Its success is likely to be keenly observed by the planning, construction, and development sectors.

Notably, the approval from An Bord Pleanála came despite a last-minute observation on density and transport from the adjoining local authority, Cork City Council, which is due to have jurisdiction over this Glanmire location once the city boundary is extended.

Michael O’Flynn, managing director of O’Flynn Construction, welcomed the grant of permission which, he said, will provide an additional 608 much-needed residential units.

“It is particularly welcome that the board has given an early grant of permission and without any significant changes,” he said.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Flynn said the company hoped to start work at Ballinglanna by June or July, and would have a range of house and apartment types, with two-bed townhouses likely to be priced in the mid-€200,000s.

Acknowledging the speed with which An Bord Pleanála dealt with the application, he also paid tribute to Cork County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, and Irish Water. He added that he was “heartened” that the city council’s intervention had not impacted on the application and said “anything else would have compromised the SHD process”.

The land at Ballinglanna has been zoned since 2005, and the houses and apartments will be delivered on a phased basis.

“The new SHD process which allows applicants and third parties make their submissions directly to An Bord Pleanála is a welcome change and certainly can help address the housing crisis in a more appropriate and timely manner,” said Mr O’Flynn. “The fact that the board are making decisions well in advance of the mandatory 16-week timeframe is also testament to their commitment in making the new SHD process work.”

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