Plans to build more than 750 homes on the outskirts of Cork city have divided locals and business groups.
Longview Estates, backed by investor Temporis Capital, is seeking permission from An Bord Pleanála to build 753 houses and apartments in Ballyvolane on the city’s northside.
Its proposal for 531 houses and 222 apartments is one of the biggest developments submitted under the fast-track planning scheme for residential projects that allows builders go direct to the appeals board.
Locals say they fear the number of new homes will increase traffic while putting pressure on services and the environment, in submissions made to the board.
However, Cork Business Association and the local chamber of commerce welcomed the project, saying it would boost investment on the city’s north side and improve the area’s infrastructure.
Almost 60 families from Laherdane, close to the site, say the number of homes that Longview wants to build exceeds planning guidelines for the area.
They maintain that the development is premature without proposed improvements to the local road network going ahead first.
Laherdane residents warn in a submission made on their behalf by consulting engineers DFOD that the new estate will increase traffic congestion, particularly on routes to Cork city centre.
They also believe it could worsen problems with flooding and question whether plans to connect the proposed development with the water mains will be adequate.
DFOD stresses the group is not opposed to building homes on Longview’s site and would welcome sustainable development there.
“They do, however, have some serious concerns about the design and density of the east and northeast of the site and the impact this would have on the amenity, privacy, light and aspect currently enjoyed by their homes, which are situated in a rural setting,” the submission says.
However, supporters point out it will connect the area to the water mains and improve services rather than put them under extra pressure.
Thomas McHugh, director of public affairs with Cork Chamber of Commerce, argued that building more homes across the city was critically important to its economic future.
“This proposal by Longview Estates Ltd provides 753 housing units, but also much-needed services infrastructure that will open Ballyvolane to further development and investment,” he said.
Lawrence Owens, chief executive of Cork Business Association, noted a “profound need” for housing in the city.
He said Longview would cover the cost of connecting the area around the development to the water network, paving the way for further investment there.
“This is important to the city as there are no Irish Water plans to service this area,” Mr Owens said.
Longview will connect the development to Irish Water’s network at its own cost.
The company held pre-planning talks with An Bord Pleanála and Cork city and county councils before applying for planning permission.
London-based Temporis Capital, better-known as an investor in renewable energy, owns Longview Estates through a subsidiary, Temporis Ltd.
Founded by its chief executive, Corkman David Watson, Temporis has been prompted by Brexit to shift focus from the UK.
The State’s Irish Strategic Investment Fund and AIB are backers of Temporis Investment Management’s €150 million renewable energy fund, which aims to support wind and solar projects in the Republic.
An Bord Pleanála must decide on Longview’s application by April 28th. Board decisions on fast-track housing applications cannot be appealed, but the High Court can review them. Longview did not comment on Monday.
This article was first seen on https://www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/longview-seeks-permission-for-753-homes-in-cork-s-outskirts-1.4183685