Saturday 24 August 2019

Green light given to 'new town' of 5,000 homes and railway station

Stock photo: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
Stock photo: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Plans to build 5,000 homes north west of Cork City have been approved.

An Bord Pleanala has given the green light to the Monard Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), around 4km from Blarney, which would see a new town built across a 391 hectare site.

In a decision this morning, the planning appeals board said that a new railway station has to be completed before housing can go ahead.

In a 4:2 decision, the board approved a masterplan setting out the development which is expected to take over decades and could be home to 13,000 people.

The SDZ allows for fast-track planning. The local authority devises a masterplan for the area, and if a developer submits plans which are in line with the scheme, permission is granted.

The scheme includes some 5,500 houses, a number of schools, sports facilities and commercial/retail units. Much of the site is agricultural land.

Planners said the scheme provided an “appropriate development” of housing and related uses with access to public transport and which would allow the “coherent development of the wider Cork Area”.

The scheme also provided sufficient leisure, community, educational and commercial facilities for future residents, it said.

The board has insisted on some modifications, including a requirement that a railway station be completed work on housing begins. Development cannot result in overloading of the Kileens wastewater treatment plant, and parks must be built in tandem with housing.

The planning scheme covers 23 separate landholdings, and 70 houses are already in the area.

Seven parties opposed the scheme, including Monard Community Association, Monard Concerned Residents Association and O’Flynn Construction, which controls 14.2 hectares. O’Flynn Construction raised concern about densities in the planning scheme.

Permission was previously refused in September 2013 on the basis there was no certainty about delivery of essential infrastructure including roads and rail to service the town.

A public hearing into the scheme was held on days last November, December and January.

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