Cork eastern boundary ‘a money grab’, says Fine Gael councillor

A new map proposed by Cork City Council for its boundary extension has gone even further east than the Mackinnon report suggested, drawing widespread criticism from people living in Carrigtwohill, who say it is now patently obvious that the boundary extension is nothing more than a money grab.

Cork County Council has put significant man hours and money into compiling Master plans for the developement of thousands of houses in the additional land now being sought by the city council to the east of Carrigtwohill.

The houses, plus schools and shopping centres, are to be built adjacent to the Cork-Midleton railway line.

The Mackinnon report suggested that the city council compensates the county council for lost revenue from existing commercial rates and local property tax.

However, the county council says that compensation of some form should also be paid to it for projects which have yet to come on stream, such as the planned thousands of houses in Carrigtwohill and the proposed 5,300-house town at Monard, near Blarney.

The new demand from the city council is for an extra tract of land which now stretches to Water Rock, close to Midleton.

“It’s absolutely appalling,” said Carrtigtwohill-based Fine Gael councillor Anthony Barry. “It’s very hard [for the city council] to justify that and it’s hard to argue that it’s anything but a money grab into the future.”

He said the narrow corridor sought by the city council in the Carrigtwohill area would split the town and rural community, which had a tightknit bond.

“I can assure you the community council will fight this tooth and nail,” he said.

Community council chairperson Anne O’Driscoll said she is concerned about the city council’s latest demand.

She said it would split the people she served and would have an affect on the types of community aid grants the area would get.

Meanwhile, county council officials are busy preparing a statutory proposal for the city council on their views about an extended city boundary.

They will present this to county councillors at a meeting to be held in County Hall next Monday.

The document is being drawn up under Section 29.1(a) of the Local Government Act 1991 and allows the city council up to six months to respond. It also allows for submissions to be made on it by the public.

This will formally offer to cede territory in Frankfield, Grange, Douglas, and Ballyvolane on the south of the city to the city council.

City and county council officials met earlier this week with the oversight body tasked with implementing the Mackinnon report’s recommendations that the city boundary be extended to include Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Glounthaune, Little Island and Carrigtwohill.

The oversight body was informed that county councillors are not in agreement with these proposed boundary alterations and their officials would only enage with the oversight group on a “without prejudice” basis.

Meanwhile, county councillors have also asked their officials to take legal advice to see whether they can take a court challenge to prevent the implementation of the Mackinnon recommendations.

Fianna Fáil councillor Ian Doyle said that he welcomed this development. He said he was at a recent meeting in Charleville attended by a number of community organisations at which the vast majority called for the county council to take the legal route.

Rural groups fear a €50m annual loss of income to the county council would lead to serious cutbacks in services.

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