A new housing scheme on the Mahon peninsula in Cork takes a fresh approach to urban development.

The development of Cork's Mahon Peninsula is a major undertaking with a novel mixture of social and private housing.

Attempts are being made in Cork to create a classless suburb. The plan is to create a mixture of Corporation and private housing, as well as industrial and educational services, which will provide homes for 20,000 people on the Mahon peninsula.

It comes then as a pleasant surprise to discover that this is a Cork Corporation public housing scheme.

The planning disasters at Ballymun and Mayfield have been noted with plans to develop housing which

Blurs the edges between private and Corporation housing.

A spokesman for Cork City Corporation explains that they set out to develop a new suburb of Cork city which would be a balanced socio-economic community, with schools, shopping and employment opportunities for residents. The plan is for a 60-40 split between social and private homes respectively. The Corporation hopes to achieve this by providing incentives to developers, individuals and cooperatives. The plans point to a bright future for anyone planning to live in Mahon. 

84 acres is allocated for light industry providing employment for 2,000 people. The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has built factories and found clients to provide much-needed employment for the locals. There are also recreational plans for the area. Already in place is the Corporation's golf course, with plans to have it open to the public at a cost of about two pounds a day. There are also plans for a public walkway around the peninsula. Another 30 acres of shoreline will cater for a variety of sporting activities. 

A community clearly going places if all these plans become a reality.

On the back of all this community spirit in the area, a group came together to form the Mahon Housing Cooperative, attempting to build houses for its members and be mortgage free. Pat Butler meets some of the members of the Coop, who are positive about the inclusive plans for the area. 

There is still some way to go for Mahon in realising the dream. To date, there is still a lack of investment in building mid-range private housing. A spokesman for Cork Corporation is confident that the private investors will come. 

Orderly, well-maintained estates reflect the pride and self-esteem of the people who live here, mirror an optimistic community putting down roots in their little patch, looking forward to raising their children in a healthy well-planned environment.

Pat Butler meets some of the residents who are already living in Mahon who are very happy with their homes but highlight the need for services and infrastructure in the area. The need for shops and a primary school are a key concern. There are plans to provide all the essential ingredients of a neighbourhood community. 

The question remains. Will Mahon provide a blueprint for future urban development in this country?

This episode of 'Ireland's Eye' was broadcast on 24 March 1982. The reporter is Pat Butler.