‘These lands are for healing’; councillor pleads for no houses to be built at Bessborough

‘These lands are for healing’; councillor pleads for no houses to be built at Bessborough
Bessborough, Cork. Picture: Denis Scannell

A Fine Gael councillor has hit out at the newly proposed Strategic Housing Development mooted for a historically significant site in the Blackrock area.

The pre-application consultation for the construction of more than 250 units has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála by MWB Two Limited.

The address on the application is Ballinure, Blackrock, and while application documents aren’t publicly available until a formal application for the development is made, it’s understood that the development could be set for lands related to the Bessborough campus.

It’s understood the land in question was part of the old Bessborough grounds but was separated in recent years.

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 now has the potential for up to 500 homes to be constructed.

This application is for approximately half of the 500 that could potentially be built on the site, and Mr Cahill has hit out at the proposal.

“These lands, as we all know locally, are sacred lands. The idea that a proposal for 250 houses here - I would be categorically against that and I will be looking for the council to make sure that we can rezone this that houses cannot be built here.

“This is a land for healing - not development, and I for one will not be supporting it,” he said.

Councillor Cahill has previously supported other SHDs, but believes this particular land shouldn’t be used in this manner.

“I think the area should be continued to be used for the betterment of the youth and that the green areas that are there now should be kept and transformed into a public park, and included in that public park I would be in favour of a monument of some sort to the former residents of Bessborough,” Cllr Cahill said.

An Bord Pleanala will rule on whether this particular application should proceed to the next stage, which is a full application with the planning appeals board for a SHD, by May 27.

This is the second large-scale SHD development touted for the Blackrock area in less than 12 months, as developers Glenveagh Homes Limited got the green light last July to fast-track 274 apartments on the grounds of the former Ursuline Convent in Blackrock.

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