County councillors have said it is “sinful” and “unbelievable” that 57 acres of local authority-owned land has lain unused in a Co Cork town for more than 20 years.
Amid the current housing crisis, members of the Cobh/Glanmire municipal district council have called on senior planners in County Hall to urgently draw up a masterplan for the use of the site.
Independent councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla raised the issue, saying he wanted the planning and housing section in County Hall to draw up a full master plan “without any further delay” for the land at Ballynoe, Cobh.
Mr Ó Cadhla told colleagues the land can not be developed without this happening and they should demand that officials have it drawn up before Christmas.
He said that, apart from the obvious need for social housing in the area, interest had also been expressed by a businessman to build a hotel on the site.
He said he was aware that the site was not yet serviced by water, sewerage, or electricity. However, he said this would come if plans were drawn up for submission to the relevant Government department for funding.
“Submissions have already been received for a sports development which cannot be progressed owing to the lack of this plan,” said Mr Ó Cadhla. “We need to put pressure on the executive to get something done.”
Fellow Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said he believed that the land was purchased by the former Cobh Town Council around 20 years ago.
Municipal district officer Paraig Lynch said he first arrived to work with that town council more than 20 years ago and it was purchased before that.
“To think there hasn’t been a sod turned there since is just unbelievable,” said Mr McCarthy.
He said the land should primarily be used for social housing as there was a huge waiting list in the Cobh area.
Fine Gael councillor Sinead Sheppard said it was “sinful” that it had remained unused for such a lengthy period.