New policies for a more aggressive approach to tackling dereliction in Cork city have been agreed as work finally starts on a 255-bed student apartment complex on a long-term derelict site.
University College Cork confirmed that exploratory works on its development on the Crow’s Nest site on Victoria Cross - a key gateway site to the city - are underway with formal works due to start in the coming weeks.
It is hoped the 8,700 sqm project, which will include a health and wellness centre, will be completed for the 2021/22 academic year, a UCC spokesman said.
The site has lain vacant since fire damaged the former pub in 2005 and moves to place it on the derelict sites register began in 2013.
UCC subsequently acquired the site and lodged a planning application for the student accommodation directly to an Bord Pleanala in November 2017 before planning was granted the following March.
It is part of the UCC’s Capital Development Programme, supported by European Investment Bank funding, on a site close to the UCC-owned University Hall, Victoria Lodge and Victoria Mills.
News that work is finally underway on the site comes as the city council announced a raft of new policies which will see it adopt a more aggressive approach to tackling dereliction.
It has now been agreed that houses which have been on the council’s Derelict Sites Register for two or more years without a transfer of ownership or commencement of works to remove dereliction will be considered for compulsory acquisition.
And all sites that have been on the register for two or more years where no material action has been taken - no renovations, no sale, no planning application - will also be considered for compulsory acquisition.
The city’s director of strategic development, Fearghal Reidy, said he signed orders on Monday to add three more sites to the derelict sites register, bringing to 102 the number on the list, with a further 21 being considered.
Councillors also agreed unanimously on Monday to rezone the vacant former CMP Dairies site on Tramore Road to facilitate future housing. The site could house up to 980 people.
A housing proposal for the derelict former Vita Cortex site nearby is being prepared.