70 Social Homes Planned For Midleton

By Seamus Whelehan

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The East Cork Municipality has given the go ahead for a 70 unit Social Housing Scheme to go back for public consultation.
The €14 million development through a public private partnership will see a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses, a number of which will be wheelchair accessible.
Planning for the development at Abbeywood Banshane, close to Gaelscoil Mhainistir na Corann, just off the N25 had Planning granted for 74 units in 2016, but was appealed to an Bórd Pleanala following traffic and flood concerns locally.
When the Planning Board eventually agreed to the rapid build project last May NAMA, who own the land, decided they were no longer developing turnkey sites outside of Dublin.
The Department of Housing has since given the Local Authority permission to purchase the acreage from NAMA, subject to Planning Approval.
Sean Hegarty of DJF Engineering Services, Consulting Engineers, employed to deliver the project, told Cllrs on Monday 2 July that significant changes have been made to the original plan.
“Flood modelling has predicted that flood levels will drop by over a metre and a half in extreme flood events, in comparison to the current situation” commented Mr Hegarty.
The proposed development includes a new culvert to divert the existing stream to allow for the development, and improve flows through the site and avoid flooding.
The new channel will bypass an undersized culvert that runs under the Banshane road towards the back of the Gaelscoil.
It is also proposed to leave a portion of low lying lands adjoining the site which are in Cork County Council’s ownership to flood in extreme events.
A new pumping station will be provided for further drainage and has already been agreed with Irish Water.
Regarding traffic volumes, the Consultant Engineer said “while there are some capacity issues at peak times regarding the Gaelscoil traffic studies show [the development] had a net positive impact on traffic as it was a reduction on the previously granted 74 houses.”
Many Cllrs disagreed, stating the flyover and slip road onto the N25 is currently a death-trap in the mornings, which the proposed developed would just exacerbate.
They said consideration must be given to upgrading the link to the N25 if the scheme is to go ahead.
Municipal Executive Officer Joe McCarthy said while he agreed with the Cllrs they “can’t be loading the housing directorate with roads issues, and particularly a TII issue.”
He said it was an issue which the Local Authority should be fighting separately.
Based on demand, over 1000 new social houses are needed for homeless people in the East Cork Municipal district, with 853 people expressing an interest in living in Midleton and 356 requesting Youghal as their area of preference.

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