Applause from public gallery in City Hall as councillors vote against controversial housing plan on GAA grounds

Applause from public gallery in City Hall as councillors vote against controversial housing plan on GAA grounds
Blackrock Hurling Club 

RESIDENTS from the Blackrock area clapped as councillors voted against a controversial proposal to build apartments in the area, but they were warned the development could still go ahead.

A number of locals from the Church Road area sat in the public gallery of tonight's meeting of Cork City Council to hear a discussion on the issue of the 30 proposed apartments in Cherry Lawn.

Councillors were asked to vote on the material contravention, which is needed when a planning application may not necessarily comply with the objectives of the City Development Plan for proper development and planning of an area.

26 councillors voted against, while one voted in favour of the proposal proceeding.

Blackrock Hurling Club had sought permission for the development, which could see the apartments built, along with the construction of 38 car parking spaces, bicycle parking, and new vehicular and pedestrian access.

There was some confusion among councillors as to whether the application was for social housing, but it was clarified it would be a private development. 

Councillors spoke of how they have been “bombarded” with emails from local residents about the proposed development, the vast majority of which are opposing it.

Cllr Des Cahill said that while he was initially happy to be involved in fundraising for the Blackrock Hurling club, he could not support them in this move. 

He also condemned the housing, roads and planning departments of the council. 

“If officials continue to ignore the red line issues of councillors, the proposals will continue to fail when they come to the floor,” he said.

Cllr Terry Shannon said he was “opposed to this from day one.” 

He considered the proposal an overdevelopment in the area.

Cllr Shannon called for the council not to go against the City Development Plan, saying it was “unacceptable” to change zoning from sport to housing, and that he has never seen it happen before. 

“There is no point building communities on one hand, and destroying communities on the other hand,” he said.

Cllr Lorna Bogue said she was against the development, but warned that the proposal could be sent to An Bord Pleanala “and have a decision forced on us.” 

She also said she didn’t want to create a precedent for developers to be able to approach sports clubs in financial distress to buy land for developments.

Councillor Mary Rose Desmond said: “We’re not just building homes, we're building communities. We can see where it’s going to go wrong. It’s not a suitable site. It’s not a fact of nimbyism, it’s a fact of enough is enough.” 

Solidarity’s Fiona Ryan was the only councillor who spoke in favour of the project, and the only one who voted for it to proceed. She said that double and triple the amount of housing stock that’s currently being built is needed.

The result of the councillors vote on the material contravention was greeted by clapping from the public gallery.

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