COUNCILLORS have blocked Cork County Council from selling a small piece of land for just €1 in Shanbally to facilitate a private development, citing a lack of information provided on the size of the plot.
The council had proposed to sell the land to ENGIE Developments Ireland Limited for €1-plus payment of administrative and legal costs.
The company plans to develop a battery storage facility within a site area of approximately 0.72 hectares. The batteries will be housed in eight metal containers with external air conditioning units.
Permission is also sought for eight inverter stations, one on-site substation, a 38kv transformer, underground cables and ducts, a new entrance to the public road, boundary security fence, new internal access track, security lighting, CCTV cameras and all ancillary services and works. Planning permission is sought for a period of 10 years. It is understood the small strip of land would facilitate access to the development site.
However, councillors have expressed concern that council land is being sold off so cheaply.
Seamus McGrath (FF) said councillors have not been adequately informed as to the details of the sale.
“We need more information on how big that plot of land is and why we are only charging €1. We need to be clear as to what we are being asked to support,” he said.
Marcia D’Alton (IND) said: “That development is in planning at the moment and planning hasn’t been granted. I think it deserves a description of the project and what we are trying to facilitate. It’s a complicated development and something we haven’t seen before in this area.”
County engineer Madeleine Healy said it was her understanding that it is a very small portion of land on the back road between Shanbally and Barnahely.
“There’s a small portion of land surrounded by IDA lands that are part of this planning application and for some reason Cork County Council own it. The amount of land is very, very small,” she added.
However, Mr McGrath said he didn’t think the council should be charging €1 for any parcel of land.
Ms D’Alton said councillors could not pass the sale of the land with so little information to hand on the specific details of the sale.