A planning application for more than 230 houses in Cobh has been criticised by locals for its reliance on country roads for access.
Applicant 1 Ash Grove Land Limited has submitted a fast-track planning application for the scheme of 237 houses to An Bord Planeála under the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme.
The proposed development consists of the construction of 237 residential units and a 40-child creche. The houses include a mix of townhouses, apartments and semi-detached and detached homes of varying sizes. It is located on land adjacent to the Cluain Ard housing estate, approximately 1.5km from the centre of the town.
Previously, the site was subject to a number of planning applications. In 2004, a residential development of 202 houses and 24 apartments was greenlit by Cork County Council and, in 2002, An Bord Pleanála gave the go-ahead for a different project of 244 homes.
On June 27, 2018, there was a proposal for the construction of 311 residential units and a creche on part of the site. This was refused permission on October 10, 2018, with the poor roads infrastructure around the site cited among the reasons.
This proposal includes the upgrade of several local roads, including additional signalisation of the Ballynoe Road/R624 Cobh Road. The applicant will also make a development contribution to upgrade the Tay Road junction.
During consultation, An Bord Pleanála raised a series of concerns, resulting in several tweaks to the plan. In line with the Board's opinion, the site was modified to:
- Provide more access points along the northern, southern and eastern boundary
- Increase density; the number of houses has risen from 222 to 237 to achieve 35.1 units per hectare in line with national planning policy
- Reduce the number of car parking spaces, introducing shared parking areas
- Provide more defined public open space areas that are connected via the pedestrian/cycle link that spans the length of the site.
In the application, developers cite the population growth in Cobh between 1996 and 2016 as evidence of the need for such a development. In that period, the town's population grew by 51% to 12,800. The rate of growth in County Cork, in general, was 29%.
Labour councillor Cathal Rasmussen said he has been contacted by some residents who have raised concerns.
Mr Rasmussen said he is not against the proposal but said work is needed to improve supporting infrastructure, in particular, the nearby roads.
"Like the previous application for the nearby site, a lot of the traffic from this development would be exiting out on to small country roads; the Tay Road and the R624," he said.
Mr Rasmussen said he has also heard concerns about density and green spaces. Locals have also been critical of the timing of the planning application. The newspaper adverts were placed this week and much of the time available for submissions falls during the Christmas period.