€220m development ‘will benefit community’

A COMPANY proposing a €220 million project in Midleton, Co Cork, claims its development isn’t contrary to proper planning principles and will be of benefit to the community.

Castlelands Construction executives made their comments in the wake of controversial rezoning, which led critics to say too many houses were being planned without enough emphasis on amenities. An 80-acre site at Banshane, which is south-west of the town’s flyover, was one of a number of parcels of land rezoned recently by county councillors for housing, despite planners’ advice.

This site has been purchased, subject to planning, by Mallow-based Castlelands Construction.

Yesterday the company’s managing director, John Barry, outlined his plans for the site. His company, he said, intend to apply for planning permission for 720 homes, the majority of which will be three and four-bedroomed semi-detached. A total of 20% of them will be Social and Affordable Homes.

Mr Barry said that up to 10 acres would be set aside for recreational purposes. He intends to build grass playing pitches, artificial pitches and badminton courts.

“We are planning to build a primary school on the site. We are in negotiations with the local Gaelscoil to build one for them free gratis. It will have 16 classrooms and cost up to €2.6 million,” Mr Barry said.

His director of operations, Alan Daly, said that as part of the proposed project the company would finance major new roads in the area. He said this would include an interchange and flyover at Waterrock, which would eliminate a dangerous junction there.

Mr Barry said he didn’t agree with county council planners that Banshane was too far from the centre of town, and that people wouldn’t, therefore, use the proposed rail link to travel to Cork. He claimed he was able to walk from the Banshane site to Tesco (next to which the station will be built) in 10 minutes.

He added that local councillors were in favour of the development because of the amenities and infrastructure improvements which came with it.

Although the land has been zoned Castlelands Construction still has to acquire planning permission. The company is no stranger to Midleton, having already built more than 300 houses at Castleredmond.

Two county councillors, John Gilroy and Seán Sherlock, have criticised their colleagues in the Midleton area for rezoning more land than needed to support the delivery of a commuter rail line. Under the terms of CASP (Cork Area Strategic Plan) enough land should have been zoned over the next six years for 2,000 homes. Instead, there is enough for 3,500.

Cllr Sherlock said his main concern was about lack of amenities and social problems which could ensue. However, he said he was happy that Castlelands Construction was putting in good amenities and infrastructure.

Cllr Sherlock said that without such facilities he wouldn’t be convinced of the validity of planning applications.

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