A PROPOSED social housing scheme at a “long derelict and unused site” on Cork’s Model Farm Road has been given the green light to proceed.
At a special Cork City Council meeting on Thursday, councillors approved the proposed development named Westside, set to be built at the former site of Blackwater Motors car dealership.
The scheme consists of the demolition of the former car showroom and the construction of 43 apartments in a single four to five-storey L-shaped block fronting onto both Model Farm Road and the access road to Parchment Square student accommodation.
Speaking at the outset of the meeting, the city council’s director of housing, Niall Ó Donnabháin said the scheme would provide a “significant” and “important” development.
“It follows the volumetric design and rapid build process, one of the first of its type we’re providing for,” he continued.
The development site area is approximately 2,450 square metres and is located directly south of Abbeyville Apartments with a Texaco garage adjacent to the west.
The existing building and site are in the ownership of Cork City Council.
The scheme is set to provide 17 one-bed and 26 two-bed apartments, each with a private balcony or terrace.
It also includes the provision of 13 car parking spaces and 102 bicycle parking spaces to be located at ground level, in addition to landscaping and public realm works.
Nine submissions or observations were received during the public consultation period on the proposed development.
In a report to councillors ahead of the special meeting, the assistant chief executive of Cork City Council, Brian Geaney, said one submission included a petition signed by 20 residents raising concerns such as the scale, height and density of the development and a lack of parking.
The report stated that the development has been “architecturally designed to promote a higher density of development, whilst at the same time protecting the amenities of adjoining residents by providing appropriate separation distances to any adjacent existing residential properties, and in accordance with the Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021, which outlines that the optimum residential density for the city in central and inner suburban areas should be higher than 75 dwellings per hectare”.
It also stated that car parking provision has been minimised to 13 spaces “in order to encourage use of more sustainable modes of transport” and that it is “not envisaged that there will be a large increase in car journeys due to the development”.
The scheme, the report said, will “sustainably upgrade a long derelict and unused site” and will “enhance the current context and return vitality to this site and area, whilst also providing much needed social housing for applicants in need in Cork city”.
Fianna Fáil councillor Colm Kelleher said local councillors attended a number of workshops to discuss the proposals.
He welcomed the scheme, in particular the modular nature of it which he said has proved “very successful” in other countries.
Sinn Féin councillor Eolan Ryng also welcomed this aspect of the scheme.
“I think it’s something else in our arsenal as we look to tackle what is a housing emergency at the moment,” he said.
Mr Ryng said that while he was “sympathetic” to some of the concerns highlighted during the public consultation he would be supporting the development given the dire need for housing.