Appeal against plans for almost 300 homes in Cork as locals raise 'grave concerns' 

It is one of three developments where planning permission has recently been sought in the locality of Water Rock
Appeal against plans for almost 300 homes in Cork as locals raise 'grave concerns' 

The development from EMR Projects had sought permission for the 214 apartments and 70 houses alongside a creche, retail unit, café, medical unit and office units. Picture: PA

An appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against plans for 284 new homes at Water Rock outside Midleton, with locals raising “grave concerns” around the impact on traffic and the scale of the development.

The development from EMR Projects had sought permission for the 214 apartments and 70 houses alongside a creche, retail unit, café, medical unit and office units.

Cork County Council gave permission for the development in September, having received submissions from a number of locals raising concerns.

It is one of three developments where planning permission has recently been sought in the locality of Water Rock.

Dawn Meats received permission last month from the county council for 434 homes across a 10.8-hectare site on existing greenfield/brownfield lands in the area.

Recently, Ingram Homes also lodged proposals for 400 residential units to be constructed in a series of phases at Water Rock.

For the EMR Projects development, it would see apartment blocks across three, four, five, six and seven storeys constructed alongside semi-detached and terraced housing.

Just under half (49%) of the units would be one-bedroom dwellings, with 27% two-bed, 23% three-bed and 1% four-bed.

A planning report by KPMG Analytics for EMR Projects said: “Of the 214 no. apartment units are 100 no. designated Independent Living Units which will contribute to the continuum of housing options available to a range of demographics that will result in the creation of a truly multi-generational community.” 

The design and layout of these units had been informed through “extensive consultation” with approved housing bodies and Age Friendly Ireland “to ensure that the evolving needs of future residents can be accommodated”.

It added it considered the scheme “achieves a permeable, well-connected, safe and sustainable built and natural environment that will enrich community life for future residents and contribute positively to the Midleton area”.

Social homes

The Part V proposal, for social homes on the site, has been agreed in principle with Cork County Council and would see the provision of 30 units on the site. It would also be built in two phases, with the 100 independent living units coming in the second phase.

The planners concluded the development would make an “important contribution” to housing stock in the area and serve as an “efficient use” of underutilised greenfield land.

A number of submissions were made on these initial planning proposals, including local representatives.

Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry said  no access to the Water Rock road from this development could be made until that road and Carrigane roads are “fully upgraded to accommodate the substantial increase in traffic volumes”.

“Some of the buildings are five storey high, this seems quite excessive at this location and out of sync with the surrounding built environment,” he said.

A group of locals wrote in to say they welcomed development but that several aspects of this specific development are “unacceptable in this area”. They took aim at the road infrastructure in the area and the lack of local public transport and amenities.

One local, who appealed the matter to An Bord Pleanála, said: “As a resident of Water Rock and like many of my neighbours, I have grave concerns with the council’s expectations of this marginal country road.

“If you — the planning authority — cannot commit to these upgrades then the planning applications should be reconsidered.” 

An Bord Pleanála is due to issue a decision in this case on February 9, 2023.

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