Cork Chamber has called for Government funding for the sustainable development of “brownfield sites” such as the Docklands Delivery Office in Cork city.
President of Cork Chamber Paula Cogan welcomed the decision taken by Cork City Council and the Land Development Agency (LDA) to establish a Docklands Delivery Office in Cork city but said that “significant Government funding must now be allocated via the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) to enable sustainable development of these brownfield sites”.
The Cork Docklands Delivery Office will work to deliver Ireland’s largest regeneration project which will accommodate a population of around 25,000 and a workforce of approximately 29,000, along with a student population of more than 3,500.
Over 146 hectares of land will be developed over a 20-year period, which Ms Cogan said will deliver homes, schools, medical and social services, sports, office, hospitality, retail, two new bridges and green recreational space “with appropriate support”.
“If compact urban growth cannot be delivered in Cork, the City region will be resigned exclusively to a low density commuter model, and Ireland 2040 will be significantly undermined,'' she said.
Over 1,600 residential units are currently in the planning process in the area, while 136 hotel rooms are constructed or in construction with 265 rooms seeking planning.
Chamber CEO Conor Healy said that without significant policy change in parallel to enable apartment viability, delivery will remain “significantly challenged”.
“Research conducted by Cork Chamber, CIF and EY-DKM has shown that the cost of constructing new apartments threatens to undermine Cork’s ambitious growth plans.
“Government must urgently address the viability gap if we are to deliver compact urban growth in Cork. Apartment cost must reflect the reality of salaries to meet the growing demand for city centre living. Measures such as a more targeted Help to Buy scheme, shared equity and tax changes must be set in play if we are to move from aspiration to reality,” he said.
Mr Healy said that it is “essential” that Cork grows sustainably and delivers the infrastructure and urban living spaces that will “maintain the city’s international attractiveness”.
He said that the regeneration of the city’s docklands will be an “important step in facilitating” growth plans under Project Ireland 2040 which projects the Cork metropolitan area’s workforce will grow by 65,000 by 2031.
Meanwhile, Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry said there should be no privatisation of public lands at Cork Docklands but that they should be used solely for the purpose of building public housing.
"The Docklands has big potential for the provision of housing. This should be acted on now. But privatisation should not be part of the equation. Profiteering should not be part of the equation. Instead we need the provision of public housing on public land.
“We cannot allow a situation where the capitalist housing market locks working people out of the Docklands. Instead we need a steady flow of quality, affordable housing for our people in the years to come,” he said.