€1bn ‘New Cork' development will see city unlock potential of docklands

€1bn ‘New Cork' development will see city unlock potential of docklands

Ambitious plans to develop a €1bn ‘New Cork’ will be discussed by planners as the city takes a giant leap towards unlocking the potential of its vast docklands, writes Eoin English.

Targeted as one of Europe’s flagship docklands projects, the opportunities offered by the 220-hectare brownfield development on the north and south docks has been described as unrivalled in Ireland.

It is hoped the region will be transformed into a dynamic urban quarter, attracting thousands of jobs and residents and almost doubling the size of the city. However, investment of up to €1.3bn will be required — up to €1bn for a rapid transit system and further €351m for infrastructure development such as new roads and bridges.

The area has been divided into two schemes — the City Docks and the Tivoli Docks. The City Docks encompasses a 160-hectare site close to the city on both sides of the river, running on the south from the city centre to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and on the northern bank of the river from the Port of Cork’s Custom House site to east of the train station, including around 4km of waterfront.

The area is about the same size as the existing city centre. The Tivoli Docks area on the north bank of the river, just east of the city, covers just over 61.5 hectares with 3km of river frontage, including the Port of Cork Millennium 2000 Park.

Under the Cork City Development Plan, the City Docks project aims to provide 9,500 housing units and 29,000 jobs in the city centre and inner docklands.

City planners will host two workshops with interest groups tomorrow as they begin drafting masterplans to guide the development.

The workshops will help inform the drafting of new local area plans (LAPs) for the two sites to replace the South Docks LAP which was adopted in 2008 and which expired last February, and the North Docks LAP which expired some years ago.

Planners said tomorrow’s workshops may result in completely new blueprints for the areas, or a refinement or enhancement of former plans. It is hoped the new LAPs will be completed by next February.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald will open the public consultation as part of his stated aim to help make Cork a more participative and connected city for the benefit of all of its citizens.

Planners have said that most of the housing in the City Docks will be higher-density apartments that make efficient use of land and support services such as a mass transit system.

Tomorrow’s workshops are full but submissions to help shape the LAPs can be made at consult.corkcity.ie by July 7.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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