Cork City Council to sell historic market area sites deemed 'not suitable for social housing'

A vacant lot which has been on the derelict sites register since 1993 is not included in the sale offer because it is not in council ownership
Cork City Council to sell historic market area sites deemed 'not suitable for social housing'

(Left) The site at 42, Cornmarket Street declared derelict in 1993. The vacant lot was used as a community garden, and another section is used for private parking. Photo: Larry Cummins

A building declared derelict almost 20 years ago and an adjoining vacant lot in Cork’s historic city market area are to be offered for sale on the open market.

The Irish Examiner has learned that the city council plans to offer for sale the three sites on Cornmarket St, home of the Coal Quay market, as a package as part of its wider moves to address city centre dereliction.

The property at 43, 44 and 45 Cornmarket St is all in council ownership and it is expected to be advertised for sale over the coming weeks.

The sale will include the vacant former Paintwell building, which has been on the city’s derelict sites register since September 2003.

It will also include the adjoining vacant lot, bounded to the south by Portney’s Lane, which has been used for parking, and in recent years as a community garden and as an outdoor space by nearby pubs. This area is not on the register.

There are a number of high-profile derelict sites around the Cornmarket Street / Coal Quay area of Cork. The building and vacant lot to be sold are at the centre right of this aerial picture. File Picture: Denis Scannell
There are a number of high-profile derelict sites around the Cornmarket Street / Coal Quay area of Cork. The building and vacant lot to be sold are at the centre right of this aerial picture. File Picture: Denis Scannell

However, a vacant lot immediately south of the lane, at 42 Cornmarket St, which has been on the derelict sites register since 1993 - longer than any other of the city’s current list of 95 derelict sites - is not included in the sale offer because it is not in council ownership.

According to publicly available records this narrow site was added to the register in April 1993, is owned by Subulter Investments Ltd, The Loft, Cornmarket Street, Cork, and has a market value of €150,000.

A council spokesman said a decision has been taken not to pursue the compulsory acquisition of this site for a range of reasons, including fears that it could be costly and difficult to prove to Bord Pleanála that it meets the legal definition of derelict under the Derelict Sites Act. It has been used as a parking lot in recent years.

The decision to sell the three adjoining sites from 43 to 45 Cornmarket St follows a review of a number of specific properties which have been on the derelict sites register for some time.

In an email to city councillors, the council’s property department said following the review, these properties have been deemed “surplus to requirements”. The sites have also been deemed “not suitable for the provision of social housing”.

The council now plans to undertake “a marketing exercise” for the land and buildings at 43, 44, and 45 Cornmarket Street, they were told.

“We will seek interest and proceed to an outline proposal, which will then be brought to council as a disposal by means of Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001. This means that the pathway will be via the finance and estimates committee and then on to a full council meeting for decision,” councillors were told.

Any formal move to then dispose of the properties can only be approved by city councillors once a report, outlining the offers which may be made, is prepared for them for discussion and vote. There are a number of other high-profile derelict sites in and around the Coal Quay. 

A decision on the council’s efforts to acquire four derelict buildings at 62 to 65 North Main St is still awaited. The council moved to acquire these at the same time as it moved to acquire two others on Barrack St with ownership links.

The Bord approved the acquisition of the Barrack St properties late last year but it will be late next month before a decision is made on the North Main St buildings.

It is understood that the council is also actively pursuing a potential solution in relation to a block of derelict sites at Kyrls Quay, which have been on the register since 2017.

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