A proposal to rezone sports land for an apartments scheme planned by a well-known Cork hurling club has been shot down.
City councillors voted 26-1 against the material contravention of the city development which would have facilitated the 30-unit scheme proposed by Blackrock National Hurling Club on a site off Cherry Lawn, Church Road, in Blackrock, on the southside of the city.
But despite some concerns about elements of a separate 16-unit Part 8 social housing project proposed by Cork City Council for the nearby former Healy Blue Bins site off Skehard Rd, councillors voted to approve it.
Described by officials as a "modest scheme", it will deliver 10 three-bedroom semi-detached two-storey houses, and six two-bedroom apartments in a three-storey building.
Local residents had expressed concerns about an access route to 10-units via Stannards Grove — a small estate nearby — but councillors voted 17-11 to approve it.
The proposed material contravention for the Blackrock hurling club project was advertised last November and attracted 59 submissions, which raised concerns about traffic congestion and the loss of amenity space.
But planners recommended the rezoning, suggesting that the scheme would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area.
FG Cllr Des Cahill said he understands why the scheme was proposed, but said he had concerns about a possible pedestrian access to an adjoining amenity walk.
FF Cllr Terry Shannon said the council has said no several times before to various sports clubs seeking to rezone sports grounds for housing:
“If we open this can of worms, we will find it hard to close it. We need to defend our city development plan and if we do so unanimously, it will send a strong message to An Bórd Pleanála.”
Solidarity Cllr Fiona Ryan, the only councillor to support the rezoning, criticised councillors for blocking the scheme and said such residential projects must be delivered given the housing crisis.
But FF Cllr Sean Martin defended his party’s record on social housing, including their support of the massive Deanrock project.
Green Party Cllr Lorna Bogue said she had concerns too but warned residents in the public gallery: “We can reject this material contravention but we have no guarantee that it won’t be taken to An Bórd Pleanála where we could have a decision forced upon us.”
She voted for the Part 8 a scheme — as did SF Cllr Gould.
“It’s the right thing, on balance, to do. For 16 families, this could change their lives,” he said.
FG Cllr Shane O'Callaghan criticised FF for voting against the Part 8 as Cllr Ryan said it appears councillors are all for sustainable housing until it comes to voting for it, especially before an election.