Friday 22 March 2019

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Cork Independent


Skyscraper on the cards

Wednesday, 18th July, 2018 5:12pm

Local authorities should have more of a say in major city developments, city councillors have said.

Local councillors in Mahon were responding to news that planning for a new 25-storey apartment block at Jacob’s Island is being sought.

The plan for the skyscraper was submitted to An Bord Pleanála this week, and would see more than 400 apartments built near Mahon Point.

The project is part of the Government’s Strategic Housing Development scheme, which allows housing developments of a certain size to bypass local authorities and go straight to An Bord Pleanála.

Speaking to the Cork Independent, Fianna Fáil Cllr Nicholas O’Keeffe said he felt local authorities should have more of a say in major projects in the city.

He said: “I believe local authorities are best placed to deal with planning applications, as they are the ones with a clear vision of where they want the city to go. I see the merit in speeding up the process, but I do have a question over how the local authorities are being bypassed.”

Sinn Féin City Cllr Chris O’Leary said he would have “preferred” to have a say, but accepted that the Government wished to fast-track housing development in Ireland.

He said: “We do need housing. High-rise has its purpose, and I would always welcome new accommodation given the projected population growth in Cork city.”

Fianna Fáil Cllr Nicholas O’Keeffe said that while he felt a 25-storey could be “jarring” on the city’s skyline, apartment-style housing was badly needed.

“Once the building is architecturally attractive, it’s definitely beneficial for future employment for apartment accommodation to be delivered, and I welcome that," added Cllr O'Keffee.

Both councillors also said the development would have to take into account traffic flows, with Cllr O’Keeffe saying measures to manage traffic improvements with the population increase would be “very important” in the Mahon area.

Members of the public wishing to make a submission can do so directly to An Bord Pleanála up until 3 August.

A final decision is due before 10 October.

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