At a meeting on the Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028, held this evening, councillors voted to overturn a decision made at the meeting in March to rezone lands in Kilcully from open space to residential use.
The lands are located between Rosemount cul-de-sac and the River Bride Valley.
“Our recommendation is not to adopt this and revert to the [draft] plan which does allow for some housing development at the site,” city council’s director of strategic and economic development, Fearghal Reidy stated at the meeting.
“This failed the strategic environmental assessment based on the moderate likelihood of a landslide and also the OPR (Office of the Planning Regulator) and the Southern Regional Assembly recommended that you would not accept the amendment,” he continued.
Independent councillor Ger Keohane had previously stated that he had seen independent reports contradicting that there is a risk of landslide.
He had said a man who grew up in the area is looking to develop several houses at the site and that outline planning permission had been granted by Cork County Council some years ago.
Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan was one of the councillors to voice her support of the Executive’s recommendation.
“The fact remains that part of the site where there is less of a danger is still allowable in terms of a few houses, which is the main argument that Cllr Keohane is making,” she said.
It was agreed unanimously by the councillors to accept the recommendation not to change the zoning of the lands from public open space to sustainable residential neighbourhood.
City councillors held their final meeting on the Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028 this evening – “the first of three development plans to provide a framework to achieve ambitious targets for Cork city,” the newly elected Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Deirdre Forde said.
Following the initial public consultation, Cork City Council prepared the draft plan which was published in July 2021 which then went for a further round of public consultation.
The council’s Chief Executive, Ann Doherty then compiled a two-volume report of over 800 pages summarising and outlining the key issues arising from those submissions and setting out her response and recommendation to the issues raised.
A full council meeting took place in March this year, where councillors voted on 522 proposed amendments before a further round of public consultation took place.
Final votes on the plan took place this evening.
Among the decisions made at tonight’s meeting, councillors also decided tonight to change the zoning of lands at Hyde Park House in Montenotte from landscape perseveration zone to sustainable residential neighbourhood.
Fine Gael councillor Joe Kavanagh proposed the amendment as he stated there is a need for housing in the area.
“This is a site that would be serviced. It’s perfectly walled in. In terms of landscape preservation, you can’t see the site from the other side of the river. That has been proven in a study that was done,” he also stated.
Green Party councillor Colette Finn was among the councillors to voice opposition to the proposed amendment.
“We don’t need more zoned land. We need to live in a compact city. We have record levels of dereliction and vacancy. We don’t actually need to build on greenfield sites. We need to do the opposite,” she said.
When asked for clarification, Mr Reidy informed councillors that a landscape preservation zone doesn’t preclude an area from development for housing, “it just means that the development would be sensitive to the environment”.
The deciding vote to pass the amendment was cast by the Lord Mayor after 15 councillors voted for the amendment and 15 voted against it.
Meanwhile, councillors voted against a proposed amendment to change the zoning of adjacent lands at Clifton Convalescent Home in Montenotte from landscape preservation zone to sustainable residential neighbourhoods.
Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn voiced his support for the amendment stating that there is a need for housing in the area.
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said he would be voting against the amendment, in agreement with the Executive.
“All that removing the landscape preservation does is lift the lid to allow for development which is not in keeping with the historic building,” he said.
Ten councillors voted for the amendment and 21 voted against it.
See echolive.ie tomorrow for more on the final draft plan.