Wednesday 15 August 2018

Plan for 149 housing units in Mallow on fast track with An Bord Pleanála

If sanctioned, plan will bring the number of units at the Hazel Brooke estate to 233

Bill Browne

County councillors from the Kanturk/Mallow district have been briefed on a proposal to build a 149 unit residential development in the Spa Glen area of Mallow, lodged in the past few weeks with An Bord Pleanála.

The development by Greenstone Properties Ltd at Hazel Brooke, Spa Glen, is the first in the district to be made under the strategic housing development initiative, a fast-track planning system introduced for projects consisting of more than 100 houses. 

It represents a significant departure from the normal planning process in that applications for large scale projects are now lodged directly with An Bord Pleanála with the relevant local authority, in this case Cork County Council, playing no role in the decision making process. 

However, under the legislation councillors must be briefed on details of the application and of the consultation process undertaken prior to it being lodged. 

In his brief, senior council planner Noel Sheridan said councillors would be invited to air their views on the proposal, which would be incorporated into a report by the authority's chief executive, Tim Lucey, and forwarded to the Board. 

He said a report on the development was given to An Bord Pleanála following a pre-planning meeting late last year and the Board had concluded it constituted a "reasonable basis" for a strategic housing development. 

Mr Sheridan said the development would see the completion of the  unfinished Hazel Brooke Estate, bringing to 223 the total number of units  there. 

He said the proposed new element of the estate would be comprised of 105 houses and 44 apartments, with 14 units set aside for social housing, and a crèche. 

If given the green light the units will be built in three phases over a five-year period, with the application also proposing pavements and crossings on the public road and the realignment of the Spa Rd junction with access via the existing Hazel Brook access. 

Mr Sheridan said that topics likely to arise during consideration of the application included its density, connectivity, the increased traffic it would generate locally, surface water/flooding, quality of layout and how it would fit in with the existing Hazel Brooke development. 

"These will all be incorporated into the chief executives submission to the board," said Mr Sheridan. 

Outlining the timetable for the proposal, Mr Sheridan said the application was available to inspect by the public and the deadline for submissions to the Board had been set for May 21.

The chief executive's report must be submitted to the Board by June 11, with a decision due by August 7. This can be extended by a further eight week's in the event of an oral hearing. 

While issues such as traffic, the local road infrastructure and the social housing element were raised by councillors, the development was widely welcomed, with John Paul O'Shea (FG) summing up the sentiments of speakers when he said there was "an acute need for new housing in Mallow." 

"It's good to see the completion of Hazel Brooke is also back on the agenda," he added.