A 20 year old land bank in Cobh, capable of delivering 700 new homes, is to remain on the back burner for at least another 20 years. Cobh Cllrs have reacted with extreme anger after Planning Chiefs failed to draw up a blueprint for the 57 acre site near Newtown Village.
Last month Cllr Cathal Rasmussen requested that the Master Plan would facilitate the development of sports facilities at the Ballynoe site. The Labour Cllr had sought the plan after the four local Soccer Clubs had lodged a united bid to develop a number of pitches and a training ground in Newtown for the soccer mad youth of the town. The site is already zoned for 35 acres of housing, 5 acres for a sports club, a further 5 acres for allotments, with the remaining 10 acres earmarked for a new school and commercial activity.
County Planners say the delivery of the site has been prioritised as Tranche 3, the lowest priority level, because it lacked some critical infrastructure. The lack of a blueprint means the clubs cannot proceed with their plan as they don’t know where, on the lands, the roads will be located. Cllr Rasmussen labelled the response from Council as “pathetic” and “useless”, “a typical cop-out from the Executive of County Hall.” He said “at this point in time we do not need roads to be put in for the soccer pitches to be developed.” “We are talking about allocating the land to enable sports facilities make plans and apply for grants.” Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy said “this site is there 20 years already and it’s like a jungle it is so overgrown. Now we are going to be waiting another 20 years.” Cllr Sinead Sheppard said she was “very disappointed” and “disheartened” with the response from Council. The Fine Gael Cllr said “we are trying to encourage an appetite for people to have aspirations in the town, and this is really like a red rag to a bull for the people who are working with the youth and trying to get amenities off the ground.”
Sean O’Callaghan, Senior Executive Officer for Cork County Council said “the report falls short on the response that should be given.” He said the Planning unit was fully aware of what was being requested and will take the matter up with the Director of Planning and issue a response.