Plans for more than 100 social housing units on four inner city sites are set to breathe new life into the heart of Cork city.

The investment is estimated at €20m to €25m. It was described last night as one of the single biggest boosts in city centre social housing provision in recent years.

City officials confirmed that they are now ready to proceed to part 8 planning before the end of the month for the developments on sites including the White Street Park in the South Parish, and on the former Nancy Spains and Quin-Ryan pub sites on Barrack Street.

The projects will be advertised for public consultation for eight weeks, before coming back before councillors for a vote. It is hoped that construction could start this summer and be ready for allocation to those on the city’s social housing waiting list within 12 to 15 months.

The investment is part of the €97m housing package which was approved in February for Cork City Council to increase housing supply in the city.

The latest projects include:

  • 32-units across a site including numbers 48, 50 and 52 Barrack Street, which includes the former Nancy Spains and Quin-Ryan pub sites. It will have three three-bedroom apartments, 19 two-bedroom apartments, and 10 one-bedroom apartments. The Quinn-Ryan pub will be demolished, but officials hope to retain as much of the facade of Nancy Spains as possible; n 46 units at the White Street car park, a site earmarked residential in a new Local Area Plan. It will include 21 one-bedroom apartments, 16 two-bedroom apartments and nine three-bedroom houses
  • Ten units at 63 High Street to include seven one-bedroom houses, one two-bedroom house and two one-bedroom maisonettes.
  • And 16 units at number 5 and 6 Wood Street.

The sites are part of a number of locations across the city which have been unlocked for social housing development through the EU Competitive Dialogue process which was recently undertaken by the city council’s housing directorate.

The fast-track process allowed council officials engage with prospective bidders on a fully designed housing scheme to suit the council’s needs.

The city’s head of housing, Valerie O’Sullivan, said the developments are in keeping with the council’s aim of increasing residential footprint in the city, in line with trends emerging in demand for city-centre living.

“Development on these sites will remove some dereliction and regenerate the environs in which they are situated,” she said.

“The construction will also provide a boost for the industry and employment, with the spinoff benefits that carries for city centre businesses.”

Independent councillor Mick Finn welcomed the developments but said it was important that they do not compromise the amenities of existing residents.

“These houses will bring new populations to these areas and that must be welcomed. In the case of Barrack Street, they will replace properties and land that have been derelict and unused for years,” he said.

White Street car park is planned to become the site for 46 units, including nine three-bedroom houses.
White Street car park is planned to become the site for 46 units, including nine three-bedroom houses.

However, he said he has concerns about the density of the White Street development and the impact it could have on already restricted parking in the area, and on those who use the nearby South Parish Community Centre. Overall, he said the plans “represent a step in the right direction”.

“I applaud, in particular, the housing officials for expediting them,” he said.

“But they will only go so far in reducing the lists of thousands looking for homes and for this to happen, the need to open up unused private houses must form part of the solution,” he said.

The latest housing schemes will be published for public consultation in the next two weeks and people have been urged to engage in the process.

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