Planners ‘turn corner’ on approval for Cork town

Planners believe they have turned the corner in getting a new town approved for Co Cork after amending housing density proposals and having discussions with the National Roads Authority (NRA) about a road link.

Planners ‘turn corner’ on approval for Cork town

In 2012, Cork County Council plans for a town at Monard, near Blarney were shot down by An Bord Pleanála.

The decision was based primarily on the uncertainty surrounding the building of the Northern Ring Road — connecting the M8 north of Glanmire with the N20 in Blarney — and a junction linking it to Monard, and the low-density housing proposed at the site.

In a report delivered to county councillors, council planner Nicholas Mansergh said the NRA was prepared to install a junction on the proposed Northern Ring Road north of Kilcully, which would provide access westwards to Monard and Blackpool and southeastwards to Ballyhooly Rd and the major IDA industrial estate at Kilbarry.

The council’s revised draft scheme for Monard also allows for higher-density housing, with up to 5,800 dwellings being built and a population target for the new town of about 13,000.

Mr Mansergh said other changes in the plan included “more cohesive” proposals for the town centre and the three village areas supposed to surround it, with improved cycle and pedestrian routes linking them.

Another stumbling block identified by Bord Pleanála was the steep nature of the site. However, Mr Mansergh said the average gradients in Monard were less than many existing gradients in the city,

The senior planner said the revised draft scheme, which will go on public display up to June 2, allows the possibility of higher residential density, with a permissible range of 4,750-5,850 dwellings.

Mr Mansergh said the upper end of this range remained within the population target of up to 13,000.

As proposed in the 2012 scheme, Monard will be a satellite town, similar to ones like Carrigaline or Ballincollig, in the sense they also grew from populations of under 1,000 in 1970 to 13,000-15,000 today.

Mr Mansergh said that, like these towns, Monard may take 20 or 30 years to reach its intended population and the town would provide predominantly family-type housing.

He said the amount of development land in the Cork area is barely sufficient for projected housing growth.

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