Bord Pleanála has approved plans for a new 5,300-house town 6km north of Cork City.
Cork County Council was initially refused planning permission for the project at Monard, near Blarney, in 2012. However, it resubmitted revised plans, which last November were the subject of a Bord Pleanála oral hearing.
The planning appeals board yesterday gave approval for the project which incorporates a town centre surrounded by four village areas, a number of schools, creches, retail units, playgrounds and sporting/ amenity facilities.
Senior council planners had argued that the town’s location would promote sustainable travel as a €4m commuter railway station could be built on the site, which is adjacent to the Cork-Mallow rail line.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland has agreed to a location for a junction which would connect Monard with the proposed new Northern Ring Road.
One of the reasons Bord Pleanála refused planning permission four years ago was because of the uncertainty about road and rail connections. Council planners have been working on the Monard project for 15 years.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey hailed the planning approval as a “significant decision”.
“It gives national recognition to the council’s strategic approach to forward planning in Metropolitan Cork,” he said.
Mr Lucey said that at a time of unprecedented focus by national and local government on creating optimum conditions to underpin the future delivery of housing, the decision is particularly welcome as “it brings significant certainty to the market in terms of future opportunity for progressing residential development proposals over the medium term.”
Council planners and engineers will now create detailed designs of the infrastructure needed to support the project.
Mayor of the County of Cork, John Paul O’Shea, said it represents an opportunity to bring forward a major new phase of residential development in Cork.
“It also provides for a much welcome opportunity to rebalance growth in the metropolitan area of Cork,” Mr O’Shea said.
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