THERE has been a cautious welcome for the news of a proposed new development at Jacob’s Island but concerns have been raised about the risk of traffic congestion as a result.
Mahon could be home to Ireland’s tallest building if the project recently submitted to An Bord Pleanála gets the go ahead. The major development by Montip Horizon Ltd includes one 25-storey skyscraper and several smaller buildings. Ireland’s tallest building currently is the 17-storey Elysian, also in Cork.
The development would provide 413 new homes, which local councillor Chris O’Leary says are desperately needed.
“We have a housing crisis, these units are badly-needed,” he said. “Overall I certainly believe we need density in housing, once it comes with the proper infrastructure.
“The good thing is it will provide homes, especially for those who live and work in the area. They won’t require the car to get across the road into the businesses where we currently do have problems. We have a huge workforce in the Mahon area and to retain it we have to provide a home for people who want to work and live in Mahon and be part of the social fabric of the area.”
However, he acknowledges the critical issue will be providing the roads infrastructure to support the extra population.
The plans submitted to An Bord Pleanála include 409 parking spaces and roughly half that number in bicycle spaces so the development will add further cars to what has long been a traffic blackspot.
“Over the years, we lacked the proper infrastructure, it has taken 30 years,” Mr O’Leary said.
“Mahon is a peninsula. It is only since the tunnel and the South Link Road were developed we have had proper access. We have seen overdevelopment in Mahon Point create problems; it is an area that can get congested very quickly. So I would be very much looking at the road infrastructure being improved so it can take the capacity.”
He points out that a lot of work has been or is being done to improve traffic flow into and out of Mahon area. This including widening Skehard Road, resurfacing Church Road and adding extra lanes in a number of key locations to shorten journey times and improve public transport access.
“We have also seen an increase to the bus services, which is great,” Mr O’Leary said. “The details will be teased out in the planning process but I think building the units is needed, we do require them.”
The submission deadline for the Mahon scheme is August 3 with a decision due by October 10.