Council officials have been told they will have to revisit plans for two major developments in East Cork, as large sections of the land earmarked for 5,000 houses, schools, and retail centres were hit with serious flooding by Storm Frank.
The call was made at a municipal district council meeting in Carrigtwohill yesterday by local Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry, who won total support from his colleagues.
Last March, senior council planners unveiled a blueprint for future development alongside the eastern end of the Cork-Midleton railway line at Carrigtwohill and Water Rock, near Midleton.
They include plans for more than 5,000 homes, four primary schools, two secondary schools, shopping centres, parks, cycleways, and another railway station.
The council wants to rezone 120 hectares of land for the projects north of the railway line at Carrigtwohill and 160 acres at Water Rock, where it wants to build the new railway station.
Planners want to reignite development along the railway line which stalled during the recession. They say that, as the economy has picked up, it is prudent to plan for the future and place the houses close to the railway line to encourage use of it and reduce car journeys.
“Major consideration would have to be given to the future development of the master plan,” said Mr Barry.
“In both areas, serious flooding occurred on sites where it is proposed to build residential units. The reliance on attenuation ponds seems to be a core principle in the prevention of flooding in these sites, however these would not have been fit for purpose in the recent crisis because their capacity would have been exhausted prior to the major flood of December 29.”
Mr Barry said both plans rely on streams/rivers to take the flood and storm water to the coastline. However, these water courses were full to capacity on December 29 and caused serious flooding in these areas.
“Surely any additional water discharge would have serious consequences for the future,” said Mr Barry.
He said from studying the plans it is not clear if there are additional access points to the coast being considered.
The local authority has already entered into talks with 41 landowners in Carrigtwohill and 19 at Water Rock. It wants to get at least 300 homes built in each of the rezoned areas per year.
The council wants Irish Water to build a sewerage treatment plant in Carrigtwohill to cater for the increased population. It has already got a commitment from Irish Water to upgrade the Midleton plant, which is currently at full capacity.
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