Atkins has been appointed by Cork County Council to supervise construction of enabling infrastructure for a major urban expansion project in Ireland, having successfully delivered earlier planning and design phases.
The Water Rock Urban Expansion Area (UEA) in Midleton is one of nine locations identified to develop new communities in Metropolitan County Cork and Cork City, as part of a €200m Irish Government Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund initiative to enable the accelerated delivery of housing on key development sites.
Under a 15-month contract, Atkins will supervise the construction of infrastructure such as roads, drainage, utilities and traffic management measures that will allow Cork County Council to develop Water Rock UEA in phases to include approximately 2,500 residential units; school sites; a neighbourhood centre; parks; leisure and business facilities; a greenway and a railway station on the Cork to Midleton line.
The infrastructure will also facilitate use of more sustainable transport modes through active travel measures for cyclists and pedestrians, and better connectivity to rail and bus services.
Atkins technical director Richard Neuling said: “The infrastructure being put into place will open up and transform the Water Rock UEA which is crucial for Cork as it looks to meet ambitious housing targets.
“We now look forward to overseeing the completion of a project we’ve been involved in for a number of years, working closely alongside Cork County Council.”
Mayor of the County of Cork, councillor Danny Collins, said: “Cork County Council has invested significant preparatory work to bring this infrastructure project from planning to construction. 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 is great news for East Cork and another example of government investment in Cork County yielding significant dividends.”
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 €7.3m.
“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.”
Atkins was initially appointed in 2018 and has taken the Water Rock UEA project from initial feasibility stage through planning and design up to construction, which is expected to be completed before the end of 2023.