20 Oct 2022

Sod Turning Signals Beginning of Water-Rock Development

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins, Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and Director of Infrastructure Delivery for Irish Water, Brian Sheehan have turned the sod signalling the start of the new Water-Rock development as part of the LIHAF Initiative Infrastructure Works near Midleton, Co. Cork.

LIHAF, the Governments Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, provides critical infrastructure aimed at delivering housing in key development sites in urban areas of high demand.

Water-Rock has been identified as a Major Urban Housing Development Site as part of the County Metropolitan Planned Urban Expansion.  The site, consisting of 160 hectares, has been zoned to provide a mixed use development in three phases which will eventually include 2,500 residential units, three schools, a neighbourhood centre, a railway station and parks.

The first stage of the development was the appointment of BAM Ireland with the construction of approximately 1.2 km of a single carriageway link road and approximately 300m of adjoining single carriageway roads. The roads will include a surface water drainage and attenuation system, upgrading of the existing Cork-Midleton/ Midleton Northern Relief Road junction, services, public lighting, and landscaping.

Mayor Collins highlighted how, “This is great news for East Cork and another example of government investment in Cork County yielding significant dividends.  There is long term potential to deliver 2,500 housing units in Water-Rock including social and reduced-price housing providing a positive outlook for prospective house buyers in difficult times. This will also give a significant boost to the local economy over the next 15 months. Cork County Council has invested significant preparatory work to bring this infrastructure project from planning to construction and on behalf of Council I look forward now to BAM delivering these works, valued at €8.5m, and ultimately paving the way for the commencement of housing.”

Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage said, “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to turn the sod on the Midleton Water-Rock Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) project. The LIHAF is about relieving critical infrastructure blockages thereby unlocking the potential for large scale housing projects. My Department has invested more than €8.5m here and this major development will see hundreds of homes built for people in the East Cork area, ensuring we meet our Housing for All targets.”

As part of the LIHAF Initiative, Irish Water is also investing over €12m to construct two new pumping stations and over 7.1km of new wastewater pipes. Brian Sheehan, Infrastructure Delivery Director for Irish Water said,

“We are delighted to have turned the sod here in Water-Rock today. This is a significant investment in the wastewater infrastructure that will unlock the development of new housing in the East Cork area. Along with our partners, Cork County Council, and contractors, GEDA Construction, we look forward to working closely with the people of Midleton over the coming months. Irish Water is committed to playing its part in the national drive to provide homes to people who need them by developing and prioritising the delivery of key water and wastewater infrastructure. By improving the wastewater infrastructure, Midleton will continue to thrive both socially and economically in the years to come.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey added, “The Water-Rock development is a strategically important project for Midleton and the East Cork area.  Cork County Council has worked proactively over an extended period with landowners, government agencies and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage using LIHAF funding to deliver this substantial infrastructure project, providing new roads and services valued at €8.5m. The continued future long-term strength of the Cork economy is dependent on projects such as this.  Projects which provide certainty on the delivery of infrastructure to support the development of housing and which will contribute to the implementation of the Cork County Development Plan 2022-2028, and Government Policy as regards the National Planning Framework and Housing For All.”