ONE of Cork’s most historic communities has called for an aggressive and coordinated assault on dereliction to restore their village to its former glory.
Community leaders in Blackpool said the city council must get tough with the owners of dozens of derelict buildings blighting their area.
They made their call as city councillors adopted a new draft local area plan (LAP) for the area which sets out a vision for the historic Blackpool village centre.
City manager Tim Lucey said funding constraints will prevent the delivery of all aspects of the LAP in the short to medium term.
He has agreed to meet with community leaders to discuss ways of addressing their concerns as parts of the LAP are rolled out.
He defended the Blackpool LAP and said it ensures that the focus will be put on the area over the next three to five years. A similar plan has been prepared for the South Parish area.
He also said that dereliction is beginning to emerge as an issue across the city but warned: “The Derelict Sites Act is an extremely onerous process to go through.”
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy said the area has been “left to die” following the construction of the bypass, and slated property owners “with no sense of civic responsibility”.
“There is a rotting core – rot is the best way to put it. This rot is poisoning what Blackpool was, is and could be,” he said.
“Blackpool has been ravaged by neglect,” Cllr Ted Tynan said.
Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn (FF) said the area has been forgotten, and that the shopping centre and retail park have become almost the definition of the village.
Cllr Thomas Gould (SF) said while the retail park is welcome, the village should not be forgotten.
Lord Mayor Michael O’Connell said the council now has to “stand up to the mark” and support the people of Blackpool.
Cllr Mick Barry said now is the right time to pursue the owners of derelict properties.
“I want to see the council pursue these owners under the Derelict Sites Act whereby owners who refuse to improve a site can be fined 3% of the property’s value,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved