Cork County Council earmarks €326m for housing

Cllr Semaus McGrath: "We have to be ambitious."

Cork County Council has unveiled an ambitious €723m plan for housing, roads, and other major projects which it proposes to undertake up to 2020.

The local authority has made the provision of new social housing its biggest priority, earmarking €326m to build houses, lease properties, or purchase finished units directly from property developers.

Around €72m of that has been set aside for the acquisition of single housing units.

The council’s head of finance, Lorraine Lynch, outlined details of the plan at a meeting in County Hall. She said the second biggest priority would be roads.

In total €214.5m has been set aside for a number of roads projects. These include the building of the M28 (Cork-Ringaskiddy bypass), the Macroom bypass, and the Carrigaline western relief road, as well as significant upgrades to roads in Glanmire and Midleton.

Plans are also in place to build relief roads in Kanturk and Bantry. An upgrade of the Little Island junction is also planned, along with traffic flow improvements in Douglas and the Tramore Valley.

A total of €47.9m has been set aside for flood prevention schemes in Skibbereen, Douglas, Midleton, and Glanmire, with €5m for coastal erosion works.

A further €21.53m is to go towards the ongoing remediation of the former East Tip on Haulbowline Island. The site was contaminated with carcinogenic chromium 6 and a number of heavy metals. It is being capped and turned into an amenity site.

In addition, €28m is to go on maintaining and developing amenity/recreational facilities. This programme includes greenway projects in the Cork Harbour area and from Midleton to Youghal, plus the development of boardwalks in seaside areas.

Ms Lynch said the council has earmarked €13.94m towards the further development of the Cork Science & Innovation Park at Curraheen.

Planning permission has been granted for the site, which includes the upgrade of the adjoining Curraheen interchange on the N40. The council plans to proceed with advance works to open up the site.

The council has engaged with the city council to determine its position on this key piece of infrastructure that will be within the revised city boundary area,” said Ms Lynch. “Progression of these works will be largely determined by the views of the city council on this strategic employment area and the commitment of their resources to its future development, as no national funding is currently available for same.

Plans are also in place to build new fire stations in Mitchelstown, Macroom, Kanturk, and Clonakilty, along with an investment programme to upgrade the fire engine fleet.

A significant amount of money has been earmarked for public lighting, primarily to replace old lights with new and more efficient LEDs.

She said the blueprint would be reviewed in early 2019 and its progression would, in part, be dependent on the level of Government funding made available.

Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath said the council should borrow money if Government grant-aid wasn’t forthcoming for all projects.

“We have to be ambitious,” said Mr McGrath.

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