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Progress For Social Housing At Crosshaven Coastguard Cottages

Cork County Council are one step closer to opening a Part 8 process that would see a proposal for 31 social housing units put forward at the Coastguard Cottage site in Crosshaven.

Writes Ciaran Dineen

At October’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD), local councillors were presented with detailed plans from Council officials for a mix of housing that would consist of 1-bed, 2-bed and 3-bed social housing. The project management team are hopeful that the Part 8 process, which occurs when a local authority is looking to take out planning permission in their own boundaries, can begin in late January/early February 2022.

The Crosshaven Coastguard Cottages, adjacent to Crosshaven Garda Station and across from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven. Pic: Siobhan Russell

The project has been in the pipeline for a number of years and has involved a collaboration between Cork County Council and the Office of Public Works (OPW). It was described as a potential “success story” by Council engineer, Keith Jones, who said that first and foremost it would be hugely positive to add social housing to a vacant brownfield site, while also regenerating the derelict Coastguard Cottages, which were described as an “eyesore” in the area.

His colleague, Ruth Henry, acknowledged that it was a complex process given the number of stakeholders involved in the project. Most notably this is as a result of the fact that entrance to the proposed site will come via both the local garda station and the adjacent coastguard station. Subsequently, the toing and froing that has ensued has led to a delay in being able to present the design proposals to local councillors.

The mix of housing is very much geared towards proving social homes for the elderly, with age friendly design incorporated throughout the proposed design. Of the 31 units in the proposal, 20% are earmarked for an older population on the approved social housing list. These will consist of 6 x 1-bed units, of which there are 12 in total, with 11 x 2-bed units and 8 x 3-bed.

The existing cottages which consist of 7 units, are not classed as protected structures but are listed under the national inventory of architectural heritage. As a result, the Council appointed a private architecture firm to conduct an analysis of the units, with the aim of refurbishing the cottages in a way that helps to protect the heritage of the buildings.

The update on the project was generally welcomed, but a number of councillors raised concerns over aspects of the design. Cllr Michael Paul Murtagh (FG) suggested that he felt elements of the proposal were inappropriate, referencing the number of footpaths in the area which he argued would not be suitable. Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) queried why the team did not consider using the access road across from the Grand Hotel apartments, suggesting that perhaps a one-way system could be used as an entrance/exit. She also raised points around the parking infrastructure and nearby pedestrian crossings.

Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF) raised concern over the access road to the site which is nearby to the fire station and Crosshaven Boys’ National School, claiming that a number of parents and locals in the area had been apprehensive over congestion and safety. Adding further comments was Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind), who acknowledged queries raised by other councillors, but wanted to stress the need for social housing in the Carrigaline MD, noting in particular that the proposal for 1-beds was extremely positive given that they are often the most difficult to procure. Chair of the MD, Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) has also welcomed the proposal, but suggested that improved permeability between parking for Coastguard residents and the cottages themselves would be helpful.

“Further to his appearance on RTE’s Prime Time in April 2021, when the issue was highlighted, Crosshaven resident James Toomey said of this latest development: "This is a step in the right direction and I welcome any positive moves with regards to housing locally. But there is still an ongoing issue with regards to affordable housing for young people, couples and families who are still being priced out of the market locally".

The councillors requested that they be given a further update prior to the commencement of the Part 8 process, where they will seek whether concerns raised will have been taken into account.

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