Planning permission has been granted for 113 new homes and apartments on the outskirts of Ballincollig in Cork.
The Maglin strategic housing development (SHD) project — 59 houses and 54 apartments on undeveloped agricultural land on the western fringes of the town just 300m to the northeast of the historic Ballincollig Castle — had faced intense local opposition amid concerns over its location, off a quiet rural road, and its potential impact on the castle site.
However, An Bórd Pleanála has approved the Stonecrest Construction Limited scheme, with 23 routine conditions.
The developers lodged their planning application with the Bórd last September through the SHD fast-track application process for large housing developments.
They sought approval for 113 residential units to include 59 two-storey dwellings in a mix of four and three-bedroom semi-detached houses, two and three-bedroom terraced homes, and a 54-unit apartment building ranging in height between four and five storeys over basement, with a mix of three, two and one-bedroom apartments.
The scheme included a two-storey creche, and improvement works to the Maglin Road from its junction with Castle Road to the proposed site entrance, including the provision of a pedestrian crossing and dedicated pedestrian and cycle paths along both sides of Maglin Road.
Three pedestrian and cyclist entrances from the adjacent Maglin View estate to the north of the development site are also proposed.
But city councillors and residents in Maglin were opposed to the development.
They made observations on the application on issues, including concerns about the increase of traffic on Maglin Road and the lack of road infrastructure to support that increase, and the housing density.
Residents said they are in favour of “sustainable development” but that a number of large-scale housing developments had been approved in the town in recent months without additional infrastructure, roads, or public transport provision.
In its observation, Cork City Council said it was in favour of the scheme subject to 48 conditions.
In a 73-page report, Bórd inspector Irené McCormack said while she noted the infrastructure concerns, she agreed with the views of the city council, as the planning authority, that the local area plan for this part of Ballincollig clearly states that in order to promote the accelerated delivery of housing through the development of the Maglin site, the phasing arrangements proposed are flexible, depending only on the delivery of the relevant supporting infrastructure.
She also said the housing density proposed is “acceptable” in the context of the site’s location in a major town in the Cork Metropolitan area, and given its context and the relationship to the immediately adjoining pattern of established suburban housing, and the services and amenities accessible to the site, including public transport, describing the proposed development as representing "a staggered transition" to increasing density in the wider urban expansion area.
The Bórd granted permission and said subject to compliance with the various conditions, it was satisfied that the SHD would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities in the area, would be acceptable in terms of urban design, height, and density, would not have a negative impact on the character or setting of Ballincollig Castle and would be acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety.