“Dangerous” Cobh Development Blasted For Lack Of Fire Engine Access

By Seamus Whelehan

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People in Cobh have labelled a plan to develop almost 240 new homes in the town as “dangerous”, over fears that the proposal will hamper emergency service access.

Concerns have also been raised over the increase in traffic volumes, congestion and queuing which the new site would cause on local roads.

Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen, who is supporting the residents says that, while the residents have a legitimate concern, without Government investment in local infrastructure, further development in the Harbour Town will place extreme pressure on services such as GP’s and schools.

The residents have launched a campaign against the creation of 237 mixed type units on a 34- acre site adjacent to the Cluainard housing estate, located just one mile from the town centre.

If approved by An Bord Pleanála the developer, 1 Ashgrove Land Limited, intends to construct a mix of private residential and rental properties adjacent to the Cul Árd Estate.

Amenities on site include a 40 child creche, tiered green areas, car and bicycle parking.

While there is widespread support for the plan for extra housing, many believe the site will not be able to provide adequate access for fire appliances and ambulances.

Almost 100 people who attended a Public Meeting in the Ballynoe Inn last Thursday (9 January) expressed concern over available parking in the area, which they say is lacking.

Dominic Dunne, a Ballyleary resident, says although there will be a proposed 406 parking spots, once the project is completed there will be almost 200 cars that won’t have a parking place.

“The developer is allowing one spot for each duplex, but allows for six people in each of the 54 duplexes. They are also allowing 1.5 cars for 3 bedrooms, but allow up to 5 people. “The standard vehicle average for these unit types would be 2.5 cars per household, meaning we have 186 cars that won’t have a parking spot” said Mr Dunne.

He said “while the road around the development will be widened to 6 meters, on-street parking will reduce this to 4 meters. Factor in the additional vehicles will result in a further narrowing of the road. According to fire and building regulations, fire engines require a clearance of 3.7 meters which they won’t have in Cluain Árd phase 2.”

1 Ashgrove Land Limited lodged the Strategic Housing Development Application directly with An Bord Pleanála last month, under Planning Rules introduced in December 2016 aimed at speeding up the delivery of much needed housing.

Under the Strategic Housing Development legislation, developments of over 100 properties can bypass County Planners and go directly to ANBP.

A decision on the application is due on the 9 April 2020.

A number of requests were made to the developer for comment but no spokesperson was put forward at the time of going to print.

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