CORK County Council has approved an infrastructure plan that could lead to the development of 525 houses in the Water Rock area around Midleton.
The infrastructure plan was due to be decided in January, after a public consultation, but councillors pushed it back to force a number of changes now included in the approved document.
The blueprint is part of the wider Water Rock Urban Expansion Plan, which aims to deliver 2,500 houses along the rail line from Cork to Midleton over the next 20 years.
It has received €5.5m through the Local Infrastructure and Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), which improves infrastructure in strategic areas to incentivise private housing development.
Cork County Council said that the goal of the scheme is to collaborate with other stakeholders to kickstart infrastructure projects, including national road upgrades, water services, railway services, schools, and flood relief.
The scheme will cost €11.9m, with work to begin in late 2019. It includes a surface-water drainage scheme, an upgrade to the junction of the Cork-Midleton road, and the Midleton Northern Relief road, a bridge over the railway line, a new railway stop, and the realignment of the Water Rock Road.
Some 35 submissions were received from the public and from various bodies during the consultation period. While the scheme is widely supported, there were concerns about the impact on traffic in certain areas.
Fine Gael councillor Susan McCarthy said that the council “put our foot down” earlier in the year, as they did not feel that these concerns had been adequately addressed. An updated version of the plan was approved this week.
Ms McCarthy welcomed the move. “This is something that is badly needed in Midleton,” she said. She said that it is perfectly situated to expand the urban area in a sustainable way, with the rail line “lightening the load” on the N25 linking Midleton to the city.