THE Government has given the green light to create plans for the first purpose-built town in Munster.
More than 1,000 acres has been designated for the proposed town near Blarney, Co Cork, which, on completion, could have a population of around 13,000.
The designation of Monard as a strategic development zone (SDZ) will enable Cork Co Council develop a blueprint for housing and support infrastructure there over the next three to four years.
The SDZ designation ensures Bord Pleanála will decide on an overall plan. If approved, developers wishing to build any of the proposed 5,000 houses will not have to seek separate planning permission.
County manager Martin Riordan said plans for the town will all be in place, possibly within three to four years, to coincide with the likely upturn in house building.
He said the development of Monard will reflect the long-term aims of the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) which saw population and employment growth focused on locations served by public transport – especially along the Cork-Midleton railway line.
“In any recovery, the SDZ will strengthen the emerging east-west residential and business corridor which includes Little Island, Carrigtwohill, Cork Docklands, Kilbarry and Blarney and will be served by rail.
“This will make the greater Cork area moreattractive for foreign andindigenous investment, which is always encouraged by the availability of public transport and easy access to employment,” Mr Riordan said.
The manager said shops and schools would also be developed in tandem with house construction toensure all necessary services were in place at the right time.
“This is a good location. It will be a good place for people to live and there will be a lot of amenities,” Mr Riordan said.
The proposed SDZ town area covers 966 acres, north west of the village of Rathpeacon and midway between Blackpool and Blarney close to the Cork-Mallow rail line.
Mr Riordan said Monard will represent a new departure in planning and development.
The processing of the SDZ scheme should be complete by late 2012.
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