The way has finally been cleared for the construction of 147 social and affordable homes on Cork’s northside on county land earmarked for transfer to the city.

It follows An Bord Pleanála’s decision to give the green light for the estimated €34m scheme in Mayfield, proposed by Cork City Council, following its appeal to the original grant of planning by Cork County Council.

The suburban 13-acre site off Boherboy Rd, south of the Glanmire end of the Old Youghal Rd, is just outside the current boundary of the city council, but is due to become part of the city under the city boundary extension process.

The housing project will be one of the single largest local authority-led housing estate projects developed in the city in over a decade, and follows a lengthy planning and appeals process.

The city’s head of housing, Brian Geaney, last night welcomed the decision of the planning appeals board and said it is hoped to break ground on site before the end of the year.

He said council officials are in talks with the Department of Housing over funding for the social housing element, and in negotiation with two approved housing bodies. The ratio of social to affordable housing has yet to be agreed, he said.

“This will be one of the most significant schemes undertaken by the council in many years. It provides an opportunity for the delivery of significant numbers of social, affordable, and private homes,” said Mr Geaney.

“It will be mixed tenure and our intention is to ensure that it’s a sustainable development and we are keen to advance to construction as quickly as possible. We hope to start construction later this year, with a view to phasing development over the coming years.”

Just before Christmas 2016, the city council lodged plans with its neighbouring planning authority for 116 houses and 37 duplex apartments. When Cork County Council granted permission last September, it allowed for 143 units.

The city council appealed conditions including the requirement relating to seven of the 10 units it was told should be omitted from the scheme.

It proposed revisals that would see seven different house types provided in the relevant portion of the site.

A number of third-party appeals were submitted, concerned with a range of issues, including potential antisocial behaviour associated with pedestrian linkages from the new estate required by condition.

Although its planning inspector recommended that all 153 units originally proposed should be permitted, the board’s order granting permission is for 147 new homes — four more than what the county council permitted.

Irish Examiner