City councilors approve one of Cork’s first fast-building social housing schemes in Bishopstown

Plans for one of Cork’s first fast-building social housing schemes have been approved despite some local concerns about its height and housing density.

City Council members unanimously agreed during a special council meeting on Thursday to approve Part VIII planning for the nearly €15 million housing development in Westside on Model Farm Road in Bishopstown.

The council’s director of housing, Niall Dunnabyn, said the modular building scheme could be delivered within 12 months from the day builders move to site, with up to nine months shaved off on schedule.

He said the city is already actively studying other sites where fast-building social housing schemes could be delivered over the coming months.

The project will be built on the site of the former Blackwater Motors car dealership, close to the Monster Institute of Technology’s Cork campus.

The site, which was acquired by the city council in 2018, has been vacant for several years.

After a lengthy design and process, the council has now been allowed to construct a four- and five-story building containing 43 apartments on the site – 17 one-bedroom apartments and 26 two-bedroom apartments, each with a private balcony or terrace.

Thirteen parking spaces and 102 bicycle parking spaces will be provided.

Nine requests or observations were received by the Board by the July 21, 2022 deadline.

Locals’ fears

One of the requests included a petition signed by 20 residents raising concerns about the project’s size, height and density, and a lack of parking.

Council members were also told that nearly 50% of people on the council’s social housing support list highlight one-bedroom requirements. Photo: Cork City Council

In a report to council members, officials said the architect’s led design team worked hard to develop a housing scheme suitable for the site.

“The project is architecturally designed to promote a higher density of development, while at the same time protecting the amenities of neighboring residents by providing adequate separation spaces for any existing residential properties adjacent,” the report said.

Council members have been told the site is close to CUH, MTU’s Bishopstown campus, and major employers such as Stryker and Boston Scientific.

It is close to several frequent bus services, and the proposed development rejuvenates a former industrial site to provide much needed housing.

Council members were also told that nearly 50% of people on the council’s social housing support list highlight one-bedroom requirements.

“This proposed development is sustainably designed to meet the growing need for housing,” the report said.

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