RESIDENTS in areas close to the former Good Shepherd convent say a housing development on the former convent site will more than double the current population and “ruin their lives”.
Approximately 100 people attended a meeting last night where concerns about privacy, security, traffic congestion and access for emergency services were aired.
Dundalk firm Moneda Developments recently returned requests for new information from Cork City Council over two months early after their initial planning application was lodged in March.
The company reduced the number of housing units at the site from 234 to 208 and increased the number of parking spaces to 218.
However, it was said at the meeting that this is not enough and the company has not heeded the concerns of local people.
Census figures from 2016 show there are 699 people living in the Sunday’s Well electoral area which encompasses Wellington Bridge, Blair’s Hill, Sunday’s Well and the southern end of Blarney Street.
If all units are fully occupied at the Good Shepherd development, approximately 900 new people could call the area home.
Spokesperson for the Good Shepherd Community Action Group Tom Coleman said: “This development will affect the entire community and will congest the entire area. It will bring the area to a standstill.”
The development was described as “ludicrous” by Sunday’s Well resident Mark Kralla, while Andrew Sullivan of Sunday’s Well said it will “destroy the community”.
Mr Sullivan, a committee member on the Good Shepherd Community Action Group, said that there are over 40 traffic choke points in the area and road widths are as narrow as 3.2m in some parts which will see traffic backed up at peak traffic times. Government guidelines for two-way local thoroughfares are recommended to be at least 5m.
Blarney Street resident Pat Carroll said the development raises security and privacy issues. “We are going to be looking at each other through our bedroom windows,” he said.
Cathleen Bowen of Buxton Hill said residents are keen for development but only if it’s in keeping with the character of the area and will not affect the daily lives of residents.
“I feel this site is suitable for lots of other developments besides what is being proposed. We’re not against development, we just think it has to fit into the environment here such as step down accommodation for older people.”
Councillor Kenneth Collins (SF) said the turnout at the meeting shows that local people are angry.
“The road infrastructure is just not here to cope with this development and there are no bus routes,” he said.
Councillor Thomas Gould (SF) expressed his disappointment that more amendments had not been made by developers in the new plans. “They have essentially put in the same planning application with a few minor changes. What we are looking for is a sustainable development for the community to complement the existing areas. These are old mature areas. There has been very little consultation.
“Until the Northern Ring Road is finished we will always have traffic issues on Blarney Street and Sunday’s Well. Major projects like these won’t work until then,” he added.