Authors of a report on the proposed extension of Cork City’s boundary ignored a request from Cork County Council to recommend the creation of a governing body which would oversee all strategic planning for the whole region.
The omission has been heavily criticised by the outgoing Mayor of County Cork, Seamus McGrath, who is also seriously concerned that his local authority will lose so much revenue from the boundary extension it could become a non-viable entity.
In a submission to the Mackinnon expert advisory group, the county council suggested that both local authorities could run their own day-to-day services, but that reserved powers and functions would be assigned to the combined governing body for strategic policy.
Mr McGrath said fears have been raised in County Hall that without the presence of a governing body, the massively expanded city council would take control of all development, leaving some towns and villages in what remains of the county at a distinct disadvantage.
The Mackinnon report proposed Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, and Carrigtwohill be ceded to the city.
It is expected that close to 80% of future development in Cork is likely to occur in the extended city boundary areas. In a letter to Eoghan Murphy, the minister forhousing and local government, Mr McGrath said a governing body “would add significantly to overall governance and management of local government in Cork”.
The county council told the Mackinnon report authors it is totally opposed to any situation that would result in an extension to the city boundary without the creation of this body, which it suggests calling the Cork Economic Development and Planning Board.
“Rural Co Cork needs to be supported in such way as to guarantee that it too will benefit from the significant increased development and growth that is expected to take place in the revised city council area in the years ahead,” said Mr McGrath.
He said he also has serious concerns about compensation being paid by the city for the loss of county council rates and local property tax revenue.
“While the report allows for compensation in relation to lost income currently, it will not make provision for the loss of income from the substantial development into the future in the area that is to be transferred,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner has learnt that the county council is carrying out an examination of the projected amount of money it may lose in the coming years if the boundary extension proceeds. It stands to lose €400m over the next 10 years. It’s expected the council will compile a report showing the total loss of earning potential up to 2050.
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