A CONTENTIOUS housing development at the junction of Hawkes Road and Bishopstown Road has been given the green light by Cork city councillors.
The proposed development received almost 900 submissions during the public consultation period which ended on July 31.
It was originally advertised by Cork City Council as a 67-unit development, but this was reduced to 64 units after a series four three-storey apartment blocks were reduced in height and redesigned, arising out of concerns during the public consultation phase.
The development will be a mix of social housing, private affordable housing and both social and private downsizing housing.
Other amendments made include an increase in car parking spaces from 23 to 27 and the residential housing blocks have been redesigned to sit further back from the road.
Cork City Council has also stated that the operations directorate intend to review the existing urban freight study in 2021 with a view to possibly excluding HGV’s from using the road.
Speaking at last night’s council meeting, the first full council meeting to be held online, Fianna Fáil councillor Fergal Dennehy admitted he found it “extremely difficult” to arrive at a decision regarding the development.
“I understand the concerns and fears of the community, particularly when one considers the many developments that have happened over the last number of years.
“We spent a lot of time and money preparing a plan for the Wilton/Bishopstown area but very little has been achieved from this that has been of any benefit to the local community.
“We eventually managed to get a playground in Bishopstown but this was largely down to the local playground group who put tremendous time, pressure and effort into getting this in place,” he said.
Councillor Dennehy lauded the amount of public engagement on the proposed development and, having considered the amendments made to the project, said he would vote in favour of it.
Worker’s Party councillor Ted Tynan also voted in favour of the development.
“The housing crisis has to be tackled and I think this will make a fair effort particularly in that area towards public housing and accordingly, having looked at it, I support fully the proposed housing development,” he said.
Independent councillor Mick Finn acknowledged that changes had been made to the proposed development following public consultation, however, he ultimately felt the design was “out of kilter with what is there already” and felt the development would “lead to problems with traffic and congestion in an area which is already very congested” and for those reasons chose to vote against it.
Fine Gael councillor Garret Kelleher also voted against the development as he felt public concerns “were not adequately addressed”.
A proposal to defer voting in favour or against the project until the next full council meeting was defeated and the green light for the project was given by a 24-5 majority of councillors.
Last week, after Cork City South-West ward councillors were verbally made aware of the amendments to the Part 8, a residential committee in Bishopstown, whose members represent various areas in Bishopstown including Bishopstown Road, Tiffany Downs, Brampton Court, Hawkes Road, St Joseph's Lawn, Dunville, Waterfall Road, The Rise, Ashgrove Mews and Melbourne, said that these amendments were “very minimal” given the volume of submissions received.