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Bid to block Old Head golf homes

August 31st, 2023 9:00 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Bid to block Old Head golf homes Image
The plans are for four ‘farmhouse’ apartments on the grounds of the golf club. (Photo: Liam Moroney/Shutterstock)

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PLANS to build four ‘farmhouse’ apartments on the grounds of the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club have met with opposition from locals.

After Ashbourne Holdings receiving planning permission from Cork County Council to demolish a farmhouse dwelling and walls in order to construct the four single storey apartments at Ballymacken, the decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Ashbourne Holdings was given planning permission to demolish a farmhouse, agricultural buildings and walls and construct four apartments, each comprising four ensuite bedrooms and an open plan living area for short-term holiday accommodation, with deck area and external fire pit.

They also received planning to build a two-storey ‘barn’ building, comprising two holiday apartments, as well as the construction of a single-storey caretaker’s lodge, as well as a car park with 16 car spaces and four golf buggy parking spaces. The plans also include the construction of a pumphouse.

In its submission, Ashbourne Holdings said that the Old Head Golf Links (OHGL) has achieved the status of one of the world’s leading golf courses. They said their accommodation capacity is insufficient to meet existing and potential future demand for accommodation from visitors.

Both Bryan and Lynda Downing, who live on the Old Head, said the area is a unique and beautiful location, primarily residential with many families who have passed on their homesteads to their next generations.

‘Many people who have lived here all their lives and now wish for their children to live here have enormous difficulty in obtaining planning for one family home in their native location,’ they said in their objection to the planning.

They said the development of these cottages could be seen as ‘elite mass tourism’ and questioned why a car park of 20 spaces is required. They also asked how a car park of
this size could ‘enhance the existing beauty and landscape of this authentic location.’

They also said this would have a huge impact on the water table for local residents as the Old Head area does not have a public water supply from Irish Water.

Another neighbour, Maurice Fitzgerald, in a written submission to Cork County Council, said his family’s house borders this proposed development and that they will be ‘significantly impacted should this go ahead in its current form through loss of privacy, influx of visitors and cars practically in our garden.’

They believe that the pumphouse and almost 8m high apartment block will impact the quality of their lives. He said there would be a loss of privacy and sea views for them as the structures would loom in front of their window ‘when for generations our family has enjoyed the beauty of this scenery’.

Maurice added that the proposed new road ‘runs very close to our house and will ensure that car lights will shine directly in our windows’, especially during evenings and wintertime.

He added that there is no consideration for the locals and close neighbours in any of the 39 attachments in the original planning application.

Manjana Strey and Holger Diepes expressed concern about the height of the proposed development and how it will impact the landscape of the area.

‘The landscape is vulnerable to accommodate the proposed development. The existing or planned local road network and other essential infrastructure cannot accommodate extra demand generated by this proposal. The development will result in an increased number of buses, employee vehicles and supplier delivery trucks.’

A decision by An Bord Pleanála is expected by December 6th.

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