Anger as 200 homes approved for the Good Shepherd site

Anger as 200 homes approved for the Good Shepherd site
The ruins of Good Shepherd Convent, Sundays Well. Picture: Denis Scannell

RESIDENTS fear their community will be ripped apart after An Bord Pleanála gave the go-ahead to controversial plans for more than 200 apartments on the site of the former Good Shepherd convent in Sunday’s Well.

The planning body yesterday announced it is upholding a City Hall planning decision that will see the construction of 202 apartments on the site.

The development provides for the conservation of the convent, orphanage and Magdalene buildings and their conversion into apartments. It includes four and five storey apartment blocks and a number of stand-alone buildings.

The current population in the vicinity of the site is in the region of 600 people and residents fear this will more than double under the plans.

Concerns about traffic, density and a lack of amenities in the area were among the reasons some residents in the area labelled the plans as “crazy”.

Residents have resisted the development since it was announced in early 2017. Tom Coleman, spokesperson for the Good Shepherd Convent Community Action Group (GSCCA) said he is shocked by the decision and the group will meet early next week to discuss their next course of action.

“I’m flabbergasted. It will rip the whole community up and uproot people. I can’t believe the justification of this,” he said.

“We will have to digest and analyse the report. We are not against development in the area but this is the wrong development. There has been huge time and effort put in from the 12 people who have represented the community on this and it has galvanised us.

“We have shown the effects on traffic, the population density and we have comprehensively made our argument.” Mr Coleman said residents won’t back down in their stance, despite the decision.

“I would deem it a technical knockout but it’s not a knockout. We feel we have justified our appeal and we will be calling a meeting next week,” he said.

Local councillors Kenneth Collins and Mick Nugent have criticised the decision and said the area simply does not have the infrastructure to sustain the extra population and traffic.

Mr Nugent said: “This size of a development is unsuitable for the area. There are fears about traffic, amenities such as buses, shops, and access for emergency services. The whole north-west of the city will see significant development in the coming years and the infrastructure needs to be developed to match this.” The planning decision permits site development and building works to be carried out from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Mr Collins noted the area already sees heavy traffic and said adding construction vehicles to this could cause mayhem.

“It is right next to a major tourist attraction in Cork City Gaol and the rush hour traffic in the area is already very heavy. What sort of traffic management will have to be in place? It is crazy stuff,” he said.

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