A strategic housing development on “sacred lands” in a Cork city suburb must be revised before a formal application can be lodged.
MWB Two Limited had sought to build 252 apartments, six houses, and a creche in Ballinure, Blackrock, Cork, and were at pre-application consultation phase with An Bord Pleanala.
A pre-application consultation meeting is held between the developer, planning authority and An Bord Pleanala, following which the planning appeals board makes their ruling.
If given the go-ahead, developers can then submit a formal application.
However, the planning board has ruled that the proposed development requires further consideration or amendment before it can proceed to application stage.
The location of the development is on lands associated with the Bessborough Mother and Baby home, which local Fine Gael Councillor Des Cahill said at the time was “a land for healing - not development” and said he was “categorically against” the proposal.
It’s understood the land in question was part of the old Bessborough grounds but was separated in recent years.
Speaking to The Echo following this latest development, Councillor Cahill said he was satisfied that the development didn’t get the go-ahead to proceed straightaway.
“People have actually stopped me, who I haven’t met before, as recently as last week commenting on my position and they were in agreement with me. They would hope that it wouldn’t go ahead,” he said.
“It is a very sensitive issue. What I said at the time was that I’d like to see the land used for a public park, would still stand,” he added.
However, he said that the Council cannot “in all good conscience” attempt to rezone the land for another use while there is an application ongoing, and said, “it would set a bad precedent”.
Some lands on the fringes of the Bessborough campus were rezoned for housing, following a vote by Cork City Council in 2018. The rezoned site has the potential for up to 500 homes.
This application is for approximately half of the 500 that could potentially be constructed on the site.
“The purpose of my stance and public position on it was to raise awareness for it, with the hope that the people in the board would become aware of it.
“The fact that it hasn’t been given a green light immediately I would welcome. I’m not privy to the conditions that they have been asked to look at, so I will be watching this space anxiously like many others,” he concluded.