Residential committee raises further concerns ahead of vote on Bishopstown housing development

Residential committee raises further concerns ahead of vote on Bishopstown housing development

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A residential committee in Bishopstown has raised further concerns about the proposed development of 64 housing units at the junction of Hawkes Road and Bishopstown Road.

The proposed development received what is believed to be “an unprecedented amount of objections” from people in the locality after the public consultation period which ended on July 31.

The seven Cork City South-West ward councillors were verbally made aware of the amendments since made to the development by Cork City Council officials at a briefing on Tuesday evening.

The residential committee, 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 “are very minimal” given the the volume of submissions received.

Cork City Council, with developer OBR Construction Group, originally proposed 67 social housing units which has been reduced to a total of 64 housing units made up of 35 affordable housing units and 29 social housing units.

The original proposal was for a three-storey apartment block containing 15 residential units to be fronting onto the Bishopstown Road. The now duplex-style apartment block which has been brought back 2.5 metres from the road will house 12 units.

Some of the concerns previously raised in relation to the proposed development include the height of the apartment blocks, the limited open space on the site and the 23 car parking spaces on the 1.06 hectare site, three of which are electric vehicle charging spaces and two of which are wheelchair accessible spaces.

A spokesperson for the committee said that there is “virtually no change to the development” and that concerns now lie with the fact that councillors will have the timeframe of a weekend to engage with constituents following the Chief Executive’s final report which was due for publication on Friday.

Requests to defer the vote have been denied.

“All of our objections were technical and based on urban planning principles with safety and sustainability and livability in mind for the people who will be living in the development and it appears as though the response to those genuine, valid, technical concerns is woefully inadequate and there’s not going to be any reengagement with the community despite the volume and nature of the objections,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that in a pre-Covid world, a public meeting would be held where the seven ward councillors and locals would be invited to discuss the amendments prior to a vote but that restrictions have made the re-engagement process “extremely difficult” Fine Gael councillor Garret Kelleher said he will be speaking with residents in the community between Friday and Monday evening.

He said that although there is a need for housing, that this particular proposal is “an overdevelopment” and that he empathizes with the concerns of local residents in that regard.

Cllr Kelleher said that the lack of recreational space is of key concern and that although it adheres to the required amount of amenity space for such a development, that “sufficient consideration has not been given” to the site’s location in a built-up area where there is no space for children to play.

He also said the lack of car park spaces “will inevitably lead to people needing to park elsewhere which could result in unnecessary conflict with neighbours”.

The original proposal for Part 8 of the development was posted in February and withdrawn. It was reposted on June 19 and the public had until July 31 to make submissions.

From July 31 to November 3, the council assessed the submissions. A verbal report was given to councillors on November 3 and the written report was due for publication on November 6.

A vote on the proposed development will be held on November 9.

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