The decommissioned Marina power station in Cork city is being considered as a potential site for housing development.
The strategic riverside site in the heart of the city’s south docks is one of several key landbanks in the city which are being examined by the Land Development Agency (LDA), the State body set up to coordinate the delivery of housing on state land.
The LDA has already secured planning permission for 266 homes on the State-owned former St Kevin’s site on the city’s Lee Road.
It has engaged with the Irish Prison Service and the Department of Justice in relation to the former Cork prison site on Rathmore Road, which closed in 2016.
However, it is understood that the power station site is considered to have much more potential for housing delivery than the former prison site.
The ESB confirmed that it has been in discussion with the LDA and the local authority about the future of the power station site, close to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and to the former Ford site, home to Live at the Marquee, where Glenveagh Properties has planning for 1,000 apartments in 12 blocks, some up to 14 storeys in height, in its Marina Quarter project.
“Marina Generation station was closed as an operating asset in September 2018, following the results of a capacity auction held by EirGrid,” an ESB spokesman said.
“The station has been decommissioned and is currently in the process of carrying out works to facilitate exit from its environmental licence.
“While no decisions have been taken at this stage, ESB has been in discussion with both Cork City Council and the Land Development Agency in relation to possible future uses of the site.”
Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn said the decommissioning of the plant could have a dual benefit for the city.
“As well as the housing potential of the site itself, we should also consider the infrastructure which is linked to the power station – the network of pylons which are strung across the northside of the city,” he said.
“The ESB should conduct an audit of these pylons and let us know, as we prepare the city development plan, if they are still in use, or are now defunct.
“If they are no longer required, if they don’t need to remain connected to a decommissioned power station, they then become unnecessary eyesores on the landscape and they should be removed.
“That could open up a lot of extra land for infill housing and could help solve a lot of housing issues in older parts of the city.”
Meanwhile, Solidarity TD Mick Barry for the city’s northside said the Government is "completely out of touch" with public opinion of the issue of affordable housing after the Ireland Thinks/The Good Information Project poll showed 69% of respondents believe affordable housing should be priced somewhere between €150,000-€300,000.
The Affordable Housing Bill sets out figures of €450,000 in Dublin and Dún Laoghaire, €400,000 in Cork city, and €350,000 in Cork county.
“This poll shows that the Government are completely out of touch on the affordable housing issue. It also shows that we need cost-price affordable housing for people, not market-based so-called affordable housing for profit,” he said.