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Housing agency to spend €9m on infrastructure projects to facilitate 750 homes in Cork City

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A housing investment agency is set to plough €9m into the building of critical infrastructure to help deliver more than 750 homes on a vast greenfield site near Cork City — one of the largest strategic housing developments (SHD) in the State.

Tanáiste Micheál Martin and Finance Minister Michael McGrath turned the sod on the Housing Infrastructure Services Company (HISCo) investment in roads, footpaths and services for the site on the northside of Cork City on Friday, where planning was granted more than three years ago for 753 houses and apartments.

Longview Estates, backed by investors Temporis Capital, applied to An Bord Pleanála in May 2020 under the SHD fast-track planning process for the huge residential development in Ballyvolane, just 4kms from the city centre.

Despite the planning inspector recommending refusal, planning was granted with conditions — a decision signed by Paul Hyde, the board’s former deputy chair who was sentenced to two months in jail last month after he pleaded guilty to making false or misleading declarations of interest to the planning appeals body. He is appealing the sentence.

HISCo is a commercial joint venture between the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and Cork County Council which builds supporting infrastructure where delays are hindering the delivery of residential developments across the country. The investment is then recouped as each house or apartment is sold or first leased.

It is currently working on infrastructural projects that have the potential to deliver more than 2,300 housing units, with thousands more in the pipeline.

CGI image of the 753-unit housing estate, Longview, proposed for Ballyvolane, on the northside of Cork City.

Contractor Sorensen Civil Engineering is delivering the infrastructure for the proposed Longview SHD, which will be delivered in phases across six neighbourhoods, along with a two-unit retail centre, a crèche, a doctor’s surgery and a community-use unit.

The residential element includes almost 70 detached four- and three-bedroom houses, 278 semi-detached four- and three-bedroom houses, 186 four-, three- and two-bedroom units, 69 three- and two-bedroom duplex units, and 153 apartments, including six studio apartments, 42 one-bed, 79 two-bed and 26 three-bedroom apartments across three blocks.

‘Hugely significant project’

Mr Martin described it as a “hugely significant project for Cork city.

“As one of the largest housing developments to ever commence in the history of Cork City, this project points to the building momentum we’re now seeing in the delivery of housing,” he said.

“I want to pay particular tribute to HISCo for undertaking this project. It builds on the success that it has had to date in assisting to deliver thousands of homes across Ireland. This is a sustainable housing development that will see new communities thrive long into the future.”

HISCo chief executive Niall Morrissey said it was tackling the challenge that critical infrastructure poses for the delivery of residential development.

“We look forward to delivering this key piece of infrastructure that will see these housing units delivered for Cork City in a timely fashion,” he said.

The SHD will require the diversion and partial undergrounding of a 38kv power line that crosses the landbank, the removal of existing pylons and the provision of two new pylons, as well as landscaping works around the 110kv power line wayleaves that traverse the site.

The scheme will also see the widening of the Ballyhooley Road and the provision of new pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure along its eastern side.

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