A LACK of infrastructure to service a house building boom on the northside is causing major concern with calls for a Northern Ring Road now growing.
The proposed road will take 15 years to build once given the go-ahead, according to a Cork TD, prompting fears that housing construction will outpace the delivery of transport links.
Over 750 housing units have already been sanctioned in Ballyvolane, while there is an application with An Bord Pleanála for more than 160 units on the Banduff Road in Mayfield and the potential for hundreds more on a site on the Old Whitechurch Road.
Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould has said infrastructure, and the Northern Ring Road in particular, is vital to ensuring the success of those housing developments but has been informed that planning, compulsory purchases and construction would take an “estimated minimum time of 15 years” to be completed.
With the potential for around 2,000 new homes in one area of Cork city, Deputy Gould highlighted the potential for significant issues, particularly at rush hour.
“I welcome that there are developments there, but we’re making the same mistake as we did during the height of the boom. They’re building without putting in the infrastructure. I don’t believe that any development should go ahead unless the infrastructure is put in in advance,” he said.
“I don’t believe that any development should go ahead unless the infrastructure is put in in advance,” Mr Gould added.
Labour Councillor John Maher has echoed the sentiment expressed by Deputy Gould, and believes the current policy of housing applications with no interconnected infrastructure is hurting residents across the Northside.
He said the SHDs pose “major headaches” for Council officials as well as residents.
“While housing is welcome and will bring new families into our community which I am all in favour of, we need the infrastructure to support it.
Currently the National Transport Authority has yet to come to speak to council members and address our concerns for existing residents with the lack of public transport in areas like Banduff, Laherdane, Whites Cross and Kilcully,” he said.
An artist impression of the Ballyvolane housing project at Lahardane.
He also highlighted issues with pedestrian crossings at a number of junctions that need to be addressed and also raised concerns that there was “no mention” of the Northern Ring Road in the programme for government.
The potential amenity of the Glen River is something he suggested “could be a lung for our city, promoting biodiversity and wildlife, leading into Blackpool and onto the city.”
Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan said the SHD proposal on the Banduff Road would create a “concrete metropolis” and destroy the ecology and environment in the bog and valley in the area.
“I know there’s a housing crisis, but why destroy a beautiful valley and bog when you can go a mile across the road and there’s plenty of green fields you can build houses on,” he said.
In January, the Department of Transport said that Cork won’t see a Northern Ring Road until after 2027.
A spokesperson said: “The Cork North Ring Road will not be delivered as part of the new N20 Limerick to Cork road in the period of the National Development Plan (2018 to 2027).