Concerns Mount Over Proposed New Housing Development in Cobh

By Seamus Whelehan


A plan to construct one of the biggest housing developments in Cobh in over a decade, has raised serious concerns.

Local Councillor Cathal Rasmussen and residents fear the development is too bulky, will clog roads, and put untold strain on infrastructure including schools and doctors.

An application is with An Bórd Pleanála to construct almost 240 mix type units on a 34 acre site adjacent to Cluain Árd estate, just 1 mile from the Town centre.

Cork County Council has been refusing one-off housing in the area, due to insufficient infrastructure.

1 Ash Grove Land Limited has bypassed the Local Authority to avail of fast-track legislation which has been introduced to speed up the delivery of much needed housing.

The Application was officially lodged with the Planning Authority last week, and a decision has yet to be made.

Whilst extra housing is welcomed, concerned residents and Cllr Rasmussen claim the Cobh roads cannot take more traffic, as they are already heavily congested.

They say piling more cars onto the road is just going to cause traffic chaos.

Under the County Development Plan, Cork County Council hope to develop 1800 new homes in Cobh by 2023.

Dominic Dunne, a Ballyleary resident, says without proper road infrastructure the Island will be gridlocked and, as the infrastructure is so poor, the Application must be rejected.

He said while the road around the development will be widened to 6 meters, on-street parking will result in a further narrowing of the road to 4meters.

Concern has also been raised regarding emergency access to the new Estate, with the two access roads measuring just 9 feet in width.

Mr Dunne continued “Cars from the new proposed development in Cluain Ard part 2, which will be using Ballynoe hill, Ballyleary and the Tay road, the Cross River Ferry queue is expected to be halfway back to the old Rinn Ronan Hotel.”

Under Strategic Development Plans the developer intends to build 237 units and a 40 child crèche.

In the Application to the Bord, Ash Grove refer to the population growth between 1996 and 2016 in their supporting documentation.

In the past two decades the Island’s population has grown by 51% to almost 13,000, nearly double the growth which Cork County saw in the same period (29%).

The Ballyleary site includes plans for townhouses, apartments, semi-detached and detached homes.

Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen says the timing of the Application was questionable.

“Because it’s Christmas time people are shutting down.  They have family things to deal with and they can’t apply their minds.”

Mr Rasmussen said the Local Authority lacks the resources to implement the required infrastructural upgrades.

Last year Cork County Council sought €10million under the Government Local Housing Infrastructure Activation Fund (LIHAF), for the realignment of the Tay Road, but were refused.

A recently commissioned report has shown that Belvelly Bridge has reached capacity, giving further concerns for traffic volumes between Belvelly Bridge and Cobh Cross, should the development go ahead.

Even though Cork County Council has no specific role in deciding the Application, the Cobh Municipality Cllr is urging the Planning Authority to reject the proposal, as he feels it is uncertain that sufficient funding will be found to develop the necessary roads infrastructure.

There was an original application for 210 units at an adjacent site to the Ash Grove application, but the Planning Board recommended the density be increased to 311.

At the same point the Bórd identified issues with vehicle and pedestrian infrastructure in the area, and recommended that the developer seek to resolve those with Cork County Council.

It is now feared that if this latest Application is granted it will leave the door open for the second developer.