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Monkstown Housing Development Refused due to ‘Substandard’ Road Access

A planning application for 171 residential units in Monkstown was recently refused by An Bord Pleanála, with both the Board and the Planning Inspector citing poor access and substandard roads as their primary reasons for refusal.

Earlier this year The Carrigdhoun Newspaper reported on the proposed Strategic Housing Development when it was lodged by applicants, O’Brien O’Flynn, outlining the overall scheme that was proposed for the area.

The total site area was to cover 6.77 hectares and located to the west of the Laurel and Carrigmahon Hill. Planning consultants McCuthcheon Halley, tasked with providing the overall strategy for the proposal, had stated that the proposed development “will promote compact growth in a location contiguous to the existing urban footprint where it can be served by public transport and walking”.

The Planning Inspector, as part of recommending a decision, took a range of factors into account when coming to a final conclusion. These included matters on Urban Design, Visual Impact, Density and Traffic and Transportation, amongst others.

For the vast majority of these different considerations, the Inspector was satisfied that the proposed development would not contribute negatively to the existing environment and was an appropriate proposal in terms of scale and density. Although the proposed density for the site would require a Material Contravention, the Inspector, using supporting documentation from Development Guidelines, agreed that the net density was in line with Government policy seeking to promote compact growth in suitable locations.

However, concerns were raised by local residents and councillors over the access to the site and the lack of road infrastructure in place to cope with the new demand that would be created. Moreover, while the application was subject to policy objectives within the Cork County Development Plan 2014-2020, a new zoning category has been placed on the site under the recently adopted and enforced 2022-2028 Development Plan, which would not permit such development from taking place.

In terms of access and connectivity, it was here that the Inspector found great issue with the design of the proposal, ultimately leading to a recommendation for refusal. It was their belief that “the proposed development would not be provided with an appropriate means of access and connectivity”. The Inspector later went on to say the “bollard-controlled pedestrian and cycle access on the northern boundary of the site would be onto Laurel Hill, a local road (L2481) of substandard condition to safely facilitate pedestrians and cyclist movements”

The Board agreed with the opinion of the Inspector, while also noting that there was uncertainty “regarding the timing and delivery of the local access road”, which is the subject of an objective as part of the 2017 Local Area Plan. There was no commitment to the development of such a road and therefore the Board agreed that the scheme “would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard, and would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”. A final decision to refuse permission was thus reached.

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