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Aerial shot of the damage caused by a fire at St. Kevin's in 2017.Picture Evan Shelly.
Aerial shot of the damage caused by a fire at St. Kevin's in 2017.Picture Evan Shelly.

St Kevin's Hospital to become large-scale housing project amid fears of backlash from nearby residents

COMMUNITIES in Sunday’s Well and Shanakiel must be consulted if proposals for a large-scale housing project at the landmark St Kevin’s Hospital site are to be successful, it has been warned.

The red brick St Kevin’s Hospital, overlooking Lee Rd, is in the ownership of the Land Development Agency after it was put up for sale by the HSE for €2.95m. Details of the deal to acquire the 14-acre site have not been made available.

The LDA was established last year with the promise it would build 150,000 homes over 20 years using State land.

The agency is expected to brief city councillors this autumn on the details of its plans for the St Kevin’s site.

There are already warnings that residents in the Sunday’s Well and Shanakiel areas need to be consulted on the housing and infrastructure project to avoid a public backlash.

Aerial shot of the damage caused by a fire at St. Kevin's.Picture Evan Shelly.
Aerial shot of the damage caused by a fire at St. Kevin's.

Picture Evan Shelly.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald said that, following public outrage around lack of infrastructure to support a 200-unit housing development at the nearby Good Shepherd convent, locals should have input into plans at St Kevin’s.

Mr Fitzgerald said: “St Kevin’s is a unique site with a lot of historical background to it.

“There are a lot of sad stories in relation to the site and this is land marked for future development for either social affordable or private housing.

“While I welcome the initiative that the site is under, there has to be consultation with the local residents.”

Mr Fitzgerald added: “Traffic management in the area is a concern as access is quite limited.

“It’s a problematic site in terms of its location. It borders Shanakiel, Sunday’s Well, Blarney Rd, and the Lee Rd, and it’s a huge site in a wide geographical area.

“Proper infrastructure and traffic management will be key along with a mixture of housing tenure to meet the needs of the people.”

Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould said it could be years before any homes are built. “This is a State agency based in Dublin buying from a State agency. The site should have been given to Cork City Council who could have acted on it straight away but bureaucracy will slow down the process now and it will be six or seven years before anything happens on the site,” he said.

A fire in July 2017 gutted the St Kevin’s building with numerous smaller fires and anti-social behaviour instances reported since.

Cork City Council director of housing Brian Geaney said councillors can expect a presentation on plans for the site by the Land Development Agency in the Autumn months.

“Having discussed the matter with the LDA, a presentation will be made on plans for St Kevin’s Hospital landbank to the Cork City North West local area committee at the appropriate juncture, which is likely to be later this autumn,” he said.

Kenneth Collins (SF) stressed that the council cannot continue to veto infrastructure projects like the Wilton Corridor plan which was shot down by councillors this week, despite support from the Green Party and Sinn Féin.