Planning applications at Cork village ‘spreading like wildfire’ while infrastructure and services lag behind, association says

A 2017 Local Area Plan (LAP) states that the vision for the village to 2023 is to secure “a modest increase in the population of the settlement, to retain and improve local services and facilities and to strengthen infrastructure provision and public transport connections”. However, local residents say the opposite has occurred.
Planning applications at Cork village ‘spreading like wildfire’ while infrastructure and services lag behind, association says

Jim O'Mahony, (right) chairperson, Clogheen/Kerry Pike Community Association, and Iain McGregor, vice-chairperson, on Leemount Terrace Road near the entrance to Clonlara estate. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Members of a community association in Cork have expressed concern that planning applications for residential developments in the village they live in are “spreading like wildfire” while they say infrastructure and services significantly lag behind.

Kerry Pike locals involved in the Clogheen/Kerry Pike Community Association have voiced their frustration that many of the recommendations for the village identified in the Cobh Municipal District Local Area Plan of 2017 have not been addressed “and in fact the opposite of what was recommended has taken place”.

The LAP, drawn up when the village was under the jurisdiction of Cork County Council, states that the vision for Kerry Pike to 2023 is to secure “a modest increase in the population of the settlement, to retain and improve local services and facilities and to strengthen infrastructure provision and public transport connections”.

The plan highlighted a particular need for the road network to be upgraded with improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

A section of road without footpaths in Kerry Pike. Picture: Denis Minihane.
A section of road without footpaths in Kerry Pike. Picture: Denis Minihane.

It also notes that Kerry Pike “has relatively few services and community facilities” and states that “new development in Kerry Pike over the next 10 years should not exceed 30 units in total”.

The LAP, adopted in 2017, was based on 2015 housing figures and at the time there were 174 houses in the village.

Local resident Iain McGregor, a member of the Clogheen/Kerry Pike Community Association, said that planning applications for the village are “spreading like wildfire” and that the number of houses built since the publication of the Local Area Plan has far exceeded the recommendation.

Mr McGregor said there are around 360 houses now in the village, with further developments in the pipeline.

“There are an additional 228 homes in the pipeline for Kerry Pike on top of the 360 currently built,” he told The Echo.

Mr McGregor stressed that the community association “isn’t and never has been against housing developments” and that it is cognisant of the “great need for housing at the moment” but described the current situation regarding development in the area as “not sustainable”.

One of the issues he outlined is the car-based dependency that exists in the village due to a lack of footpaths.

“A massive part of the issue here in this village is that you have the east of the village and the west of the village and in between that is the actual nucleus of the village at the moment, which is the pub, the restaurant, the garden centre — but in that section there are no footpaths,” he said.

“Every estate around here feels like an island. The footpaths go no more than about 10 feet beyond any estate and that’s the end of it.

“There’s no joined-up thinking. There’s no connecting estates to the centre of the village if you wanted to walk.”

Jim O'Mahony, (right) chairperson, Clogheen/Kerry Pike Community Association, and Iain McGregor, vice-chairperson, on Leemount Terrace Road near the entrance to Clonlara estate. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Jim O'Mahony, (right) chairperson, Clogheen/Kerry Pike Community Association, and Iain McGregor, vice-chairperson, on Leemount Terrace Road near the entrance to Clonlara estate. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Outside Clonlara estate in the village, a 144-house development completed by the O’Flynn Group, Mr McGregor and chairman of the Clogheen/Kerry Pike Community Association, Jim O’Mahony point to the condition of Leemount Road due to be upgraded by the O’Flynn Group.

Mr McGregor highlights signage indicating speed bumps on the road, where no such traffic calming measures exist.

“There’s no speed bumps on this road, this road is just ripped asunder and they’re warning you about the condition of the road,” he said.

A spokesperson for the O’Flynn Group told The Echo last week that planned upgrade works will commence on May 9.

“We are due to commence work on the week commencing May 9 to resurface the road.

“We have a road closing application gone into city council to facilitate those works.

“The road is due to be fully resurfaced,” the spokesperson said.

Mr McGregor welcomed that works are set to commence shortly but claimed there have been several delays to date.

“We welcome that news. Hopefully, they will be doing it to complete finish — a fully tarred and lined proper road.

“We haven’t seen the specs so we don’t know what kind of a road it is, but either way we’re very happy that the road is starting.

“I will throw in the caveat that this would be the third date we have received for works to commence,” he said.

Within the Clonlara estate, a crèche facility proposed to be constructed as part of the development has also yet to be built.

A planning application to change the use of the permitted development from a crèche to three housing units was recently withdrawn and a spokesperson for O’Flynn’s told The Echo that the group does not have any current plans to develop a crèche at that site.

An area where a proposed creche was to be built in Clonlara estate, Kerry Pike. Picture: Denis Minihane.
An area where a proposed creche was to be built in Clonlara estate, Kerry Pike. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The spokesperson said the company believes a crèche facility proposed as part of a development at the nearby Horgans Field site “presents a much more viable proposition”.

If given planning permission, it would cater to 75 children as opposed to 38 children that the Clonlara crèche would have catered to.

An observation submitted by the community association on this proposed mixed-use development which includes 94 residential units, argues that should the planning be granted for this development “it must be stipulated that the bus stop, crèche, retail and commercial section is built first, prior to the residential units being permitted to avoid the situation currently in the nearby Clonlara estate where the crèche remains unbuilt and the pedestrian walkway to the village has not been fully completed despite all houses in the estate being built and occupied”.

Infrastructural shortcomings in the village have been something the association has highlighted in several submissions on proposed developments by different companies.

Mr McGregor said it is now time for Cork City Council “to stop the relentless pace of housing developments” in the village until such a time as these concerns are addressed.

“In a village with no crèche facilities, no new road infrastructure, no bus connection, no cycle lanes, no shop, poor quality footpaths, poor internet connection, not even connection via a footpath from one side of the village to the other, no playground, regular water and electrical outages — 2020 alone had 17 water outages and four electricity outages — and dangerous speeding through the village, this has to change.

“The city council has to stop the relentless pace of housing developments and start to deliver the infrastructure and amenities that Kerry Pike is badly in need of to facilitate all the families that have been welcomed to the village,” he said.

A new pedestrian crossing constructed by Cork City Council in Kerry Pike. Picture: Denis Minihane.
A new pedestrian crossing constructed by Cork City Council in Kerry Pike. Picture: Denis Minihane.

In 2021, Cork City Council installed a new pedestrian crossing in the village and some new footpaths, which Mr McGregor and Mr O’Mahony said is welcome.

“Our first biggest bugbear was getting the new pedestrian crossing at the school because before that we had a very dangerous pedestrian crossing,” Mr O’Mahony said.

“This is the second major issue, the lack of infrastructure for the village.”

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