Call for change in law so derelict sites can be dealt with quicker

 John Buttimer: Developers are 'sitting on' sites.

Former lord mayor of Cork, Cllr John Buttimer (FG), who represents the area, called for an immediate review of national legislation governing dereliction that would allow the authorities move quicker to tackle sites like this.

And he suggested the introduction of a tax on developers who are ‘sitting on’ land which has live planning permission.

He branded the situation on Hawke’s Rd, in the city’s western suburbs, a disgrace after it emerged that ownership of the landbank has yet to be confirmed.

It was not clear last night whether the site is owned by Nama or a receiver, with city officials now working to establish exactly who is responsible for the site.

But Mr Buttimer said the site has been lying idle for years.

“This latest incident highlights the need for urgent action to address and tackle this situation, and others like it,” he said.

The process to declare a property derelict, and for remedial action to be taken, is far too long and bureaucratic, and does not take into account properties that have in effect been abandoned and left idle for some time, he said.

“Consideration should given to the introduction of a holding site development tax where planning permission has been granted but not progressed,” he said.

“This would encourage developers to either progress with the work they have proposed or to offload the site to an alternative developer that is able to proceed with the development.”

It emerged at a recent city council meeting that there are 12 active derelict sites in the south west ward alone.

A property on Glasheen Rd has been placed on the Derelict Sites Register.

Another property at Lough Villas has been acquired under the Derelict Sites Act and is being disposed of.

Lodge House, at the entrance to IDA Business Park on Model Farm Rd, is in council ownership and is being assessed by the architects’ department.

The process of putting three additional properties on the Derelict Site Register is under way, while further inspections and ownership investigations and contact with owners is continuing on the other six properties.

He also pointed to dereliction in the city centre, citing sites on the Grand Parade, Parnell Place, North Main St and areas of Blackpool where landlords or developers are holding onto development sites which have not been progressed.

Officials have moved on the former Crow’s Nest site, which was offered for sale after it was declared derelict. The former Capitol Cinema site has also been lying idle for several years with a valid permission for development on it.


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