Cork's 'brownfield sites' could be used to house 36,000 people

Council analysis project will help form part of the blueprints for future county development plans
Cork's 'brownfield sites' could be used to house 36,000 people

Cork's population is expected to grow by 120,000 over the next 20 years.

A major analysis of 'brownfield sites' is underway in Co Cork in an effort to redevelop them to accommodate a third of the projected 120,000 increase in population in the region in the next 20 years.

County council chief executive Tim Lucey said a number of his staff and outside consultants had embarked on the project which should be finalised in the next 12 weeks and it will help form part of the blueprints for future county development plans.

A brownfield site is defined as previously developed land that has the potential for being redeveloped. It is often (but not always) land that has been used for industrial and commercial purposes and is now derelict and possibly contaminated.

Mr Lucey told councillors that in many cases private developers didn't view some of these sites are being commercially viable to redevelop and if the local authority was to undertake such redevelopment it may need specific “seed funding” from central Government.

There are a lot of opportunities out there (for such redevelopment), but there will be barriers and this is why the analysis is happening now

He said that currently, senior people from the council's architects, planning, housing and quantity surveyors departments were gathering information on the sites, along with external consultants.

“It will inform us of the challenges we will face in achieving that 30% of the increase in population that the Government want us to put in these sites. That's a significant amount of people (approximately 36,000). There are a lot of opportunities out there (for such redevelopment), but there will be barriers and this is why the analysis is happening now,” Mr Lucey said. He made his comments during a meeting in County Hall on Monday which was dominated by dereliction.

Fine Gael councillor Karen Coakley, Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Hayes and Independent councillor Noel Collins all had motions relating to dereliction at the meeting.

Ms Coakley said more needed to be done to take over such buildings, which were eyesores and costing hard-working tidy towns groups points.

Mr Collins said that better legislation was needed to make it easier for the council to take charge of such properties.

Mayor of County Cork, Independent councillor Mary Linehan-Foley, said a major stumbling block was trying to identify the owners. “Many are deceased and whoever they willed them onto can't be found,” she said.

Mr Hayes urged the council to carry out a detailed survey of derelict buildings in all towns and villages with a view to attaining Compulsory Purchase Orders on them and where possible turning them into social housing.

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