Community Action Group

Planning on the Good Shepherd Site

** Short summary of objections raised **

Why are we objecting?

We are objecting because so far, all the proposals for the development of the Good Shepherd Convent site have been unrealistic and will be detrimental to the character of the area and indeed the fine city we are proud to be part of.

The starting point for all the problems is the sheer size of the proposed developments. The last proposal hoped to house between 700 and 900 people. This is an increase of 100% or more on the population of the area.

While the need for housing in our country is acute, doubling the density of a small area like this will destroy the suburbs of Sunday's Well and Blarney Street, will lead to intolerable living conditions for the residents of these areas, and will raise severe infrastructural issues for the city.

Because there is only one bus service for the area (which goes nowhere near the town centre!) most residents will have cars. A working family with children in Cork usually has two cars. Apple has over 4,500 parking spaces for cars for their employees, and a source close to Apple told us that driving to work by car is the norm for employees, even for those who live ten minutes down the road. UCC students have cars, UCC has three large parking areas for people who are not staff, and these are often totally full.

The Good Shepherd Convent site is situated in the middle of a network of streets with narrow 'pinch points' and steep gradients, so cycling and pedestrian access is difficult.

Furthermore, the site lies in between two major routes in and out of the city from the West: Blarney Street and Sunday's Well Road. These routes are already difficult to go through. Adding more vehicles to the area will have an effect on commuting traffic to and from Cork city at a time when commuting time is already considered to be problematic.

Everybody (including Cork City Council Planning Office) agrees with the above points! The proposal has been subject to many conditions some of which are just aspirations that things will go right in order to keep it alive. But why bother keeping it alive?

The points that follow have been raised at several meetings of concerned resdents. They are a direct consequence of doubling the population size of an area with poor connections and infrastructure.

  1. The character of the area will be changed, visually by the un-traditional designs and materials so far proposed which don't go with with the existing buildings on the site and the surrounding neighbourhood.
  2. There will be substantial overlooking and invasion of privacy for residents on adjoining properties on three of the site boundaries. This has security implications for the entire area.
  3. The estate wall surrounding the site risks being destabilised and yet no concern about this has been raised in the proposal.
  4. The provision of basic services (water, gas, electricity) to the area has not been considered: who will pay for supplying this, and how? Drainage will be affected. Who will pay for fixing this?
  5. Most proposals are extremely unrealistic about the state of the surrounding roads. There will be a negative impact on through traffic to and from the city leading to increases in pedestrian and vehicle accidents and a decline in city centre business. Businesses in the city centre are already complaining about the difficult drive to work for many of their employees.
  6. Parking spaces for local residents, who need cars for health, schooling, and shopping, will become more scarce, leading to hardship.
  7. There will be a risk of flooding and subsidence to properties on the south side of the development and to the Sundays Well Road itself from disturbance to underground aquifers which have been recognised as problematic by an Uisce in recent reports.
  8. There is a strong possibility that graves and burial places still exist which have not been discovered by the cursory examinations made so far. See the 1911 census data for the Convent (in the 'public documents' section of our site).
  9. Access to the site and surrounding areas by emergency services will significantly worsen leading to risk of deaths and substantial damage to property in the area by fire.
  10. The inconvenience created by traffic and works during the ambitious construction phases required will significantly affect local amenities for years to come and make life very difficult for the residents.

There are comparable sites which have been sensitively developed in other areas of the City and which did not lead to massive new builds. 'Do nothing' is not the only alternative to the proposals aired so far.