Tuesday 26 June 2007

Residents ready for court battle to save estate’s green from developers

The people of Bishopscourt in Cork’s western suburbs agreed over the weekend to hire a solicitor to ensure the green space that has put up for sale can never be built on.

The green, which has been used as a public park since the mid-1960s, was placed on the market last week as part of the sale of Number 1, Park Gate Villas on the Bishopstown Road.

Residents were shocked when they learned that title to the green, which they have maintained since the estate was built in the late 1960s, was included in the title to the house, which stands on the corner of the 1.6-acre site.

Property sources have suggested the site could be worth up to €5 million if its new owners secured planning permission on the site.

But at a public meeting at the weekend, residents said the estate’s developer, Denis J McCarthy, provided the green as a public amenity in 1966.

He bought a 10-acre field from the Society of African Missions and drew up plans for the 67-house Bishopscourt Estate.

As part of the plan, he set aside just over one acre as public open space and built concrete paths across it.

Local resident Jim Collins said that even if the green has not been taken over by the council, the spirit of Mr McCarthy’s intention should still be honoured: ‘‘I have no problem with the house sale, but the green must be saved. It is an integral part of our estate.

‘‘I could have bought a bigger house elsewhere in Bishopstown at the time but I chose to buy this house because of the layout of the estate and the green.

‘‘He (Mr McCarthy) has provided the residents’ association with documents he got when he bought his house which shows the green as public open space.

‘‘If we have to go the courts, we have plenty of money to do that and we’ll go to court.”

Kevin Terry, the city council’s head of planning, confirmed last night that while the green does not have any specific zoning designation, there is a presumption against development on such sites.

City manager Joe Gavin has also said that while any new owner of the site could apply for planning permission, the fact the site has been used as a public park for almost four decades would be taken into account by planners when arriving at a decision.

Irish Examiner

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