Thursday 19 April 2018

Anger at plan for new houses in ghost estate area

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

ONE of the country's biggest local authorities was last night forced to defend giving the green light for 18 new houses in a community already blighted by two 'ghost' housing estates.

Ballyhooly Community Council in north Cork has vowed to fight the planning for the 18 new homes -- granted by Cork County Council -- after warning that local schools, water and sewerage systems were already stretched to breaking point.

A protest meeting was staged this week -- and the village council warned it had no option but to appeal to An Bord Pleanala unless it received a firm commitment of infrastructural upgrading from the council.

"We have no problem with the developer (Brompton Homes)," village council chairman Adrian Godwin said.

"That is what developers do -- they look for permission to build new homes. But Cork County Council has known about the water and sewerage issues here for years and nothing was done," Mr Godwin said.

Ballyhooly Community Council has no statutory powers -- and is a village council that acts as a representative body for the local community. It is made up of local residents.

Ballyhooly has three estates -- two of which are so-called 'ghost' estates -- or largely empty.


These are The View (14 houses, two occupied) and Gleann Ull (30 houses, 15 occupied). The third estate, Lios Ard, has 35 homes occupied of out 39.

But planning has now been granted for 18 more two-storey homes at Lios Ard.

Following talks between the developer and Lios Ard residents, homeowners in the estate will not be proceeding with a planning appeal.

However, the village council is concerned that no extra housing should be provided unless crucial water, sewerage and school capacity issues are addressed.

Residents experienced serious water pressure problems over the summer -- and are worried more houses will stretch the system to breaking point.

Cork County Council declined to comment on the matter given than the planning process was still ongoing.

The planning decision was granted by its Northern Division Office. A spokesperson would not reveal which official made the decision.

However, the council did apply 67 separate conditions to the Lios Ard planning -- with Condition 58 specifically dealing with local water issues.

It read: "The capacity of the water mains shall be checked with the local engineer's office to determine if it can accommodate additional demand. No development shall take place on site until such a time as this check has been carried out and the results are to the satisfaction of the area engineer."

Irish Independent

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