Council urged to expand painting grant initiative

There have been calls to extend a city-sponsored painting grant scheme which has breathed new life into Cork’s historic spine.

Painters at work on a building in Great William O'Brien St as part of the Painting Grant Scheme 2013

A total of 27 buildings on streets running from Barrack St on the city’s southside to Blackpool Church on the northside have been given a facelift thanks to Cork City Council’s City Centre Painting Grant Scheme 2013.

The scheme in Barrack St comes in the wake of significant investment in the area’s streetscape over the last 12 months and has helped improve the appearance of the area.

Local councillor Mick Finn said that while it by no means tackles the wider dereliction problem blighting parts of the city, it is a “quick-fix easy win”.

“The city council gets enough stick for not doing things, but this is an example of what can be done,” said Mr Finn.

“Anything that improves the appearance of properties which have fallen into disrepair or dereliction — especially in areas where tourists are encouraged to visit — must be welcomed.

“The painting scheme has given a new lease of life for some areas, and I would call for it to be extended.”

However, he also urged city officials to do more to promote the scheme, and to put pressure on certain business or property owners to avail of it.

“The success of this phase of the scheme should be used as a spur for other business owners to get involved,” said Mr Finn.

“Even derelict buildings can look well with a lick of paint.”

This is the fourth time the targeted painting grant scheme has been run, with increased interest reported this year.

Run by the city council’s Strategic Planning and Economic Development Directorate, it provides a financial incentive for people to paint their buildings.

The grants are up to a maximum of 50% of the cost of the job, subject to a maximum of €600 if a contractor does the work, or €300 for the cost of materials if building owners do the paint work themselves.

The city council also helped nine building owners to undertake repairs to seven buildings in the area this year through its Architectural Conservation Area Grant Scheme.

Project officer Helen O’Sullivan drove the painting grant scheme this year with support from planning staff.

A council spokesperson said: “Whilst the city council knows that painting buildings isn’t the whole solution to an area’s problems, it is important and forms part of a suite of initiatives to regenerate the city centre being spearheaded by city manager, Tim Lucey, including the City Centre Strategy currently being developed.

“Regeneration of the city centre will require significant energy, resources, and partnership to deliver change.

“Ultimately the key is people. The more people that are living, working and visiting the city centre, the better place it will be.”

Previous painting grant schemes were run in South Main St to Blackpool Church in 2012, North Main St and Cornmarket St in 2011, the South Parish area in 2010, and Blackpool in 2009.

A separate painting grant scheme was run on MacCurtain St following on from the Area Action Plan process completed by the area’s traders in 2013.

Among other initiatives being pursued by City Hall are the promotion of the development of key sites, improving the public realm, generating improved economic activity and footfall; as well as tackling dereliction and investment in the significant historic building stock in the centre of Cork, amongst other things.

*Details on the painting scheme are available at www.corkcity.ie/services/ planningdevelopment/ grantschemesincorkcity



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