One year on from partial building collapse: North Main Street still suffers

One year on from partial building collapse: North Main Street still suffers
In February 2020 the owners were given one month, by Cork City Council, to remove huge metal beams from the public footpath. Pic; Larry Cummins

Traders, residents and people who shop on North Main Street have been “left in limbo” as hoarding and rubble has been blocking off a section of the street to pedestrians for more than a year.

In June 2019, North Main Street had to be closed to motorists for a five-week period following the partial collapse of number 63, but hoarding that was erected around the derelict property has remained in situ since last summer which blocks a significant section of footpath.

Mick Scully, who runs Murphy's Pharmacy on the street, said that just prior to lockdown, he understood that work was about to start on the properties.

“It’s a massive negative on the street. If you’re coming up Castle Street, it’s the first thing that you face. 

"The comments on social media for the last 12 months about the street and about the hoarding, asking are the traders doing anything - traders’ hands are tied behind their back,” Mr Scully said.

Pic; Larry Cummins
Pic; Larry Cummins

“It’s City Hall’s prerogative to do something about it. We’re limited as to what we can do. All we can do is keep shouting and roaring and you get fed up of that at the end of the day because you’re getting nowhere. To be honest, it’s soul-destroying,” Mr Scully added.

Patrick Leader, of Leader Menswear, said traders did have some contact with Cork City Council recently on the issue, but they received nothing concrete.

Traders were told in an email that the Council was hopeful there would be action on the property soon, given the length of time it has been since the building partially collapsed.

Patrick Leader told The Echo: “It is impacting us because you can’t have a continuous line on the footpath. It (the hoarding) is blocking pedestrian traffic.

“It’s affecting the pedestrians using the footpath. 

Pic; Larry Cummins
Pic; Larry Cummins

"We don’t know how safe the building is - it is in the process of being made safe as far as we know but we don’t know what level of that has been completed,” he added.

Mr Leader said that traders had heard “nothing from the owner of the property as regards to where it is now or where it is going to go.

“Everything is just hanging in limbo.” 

Independent Councillor Paudie Dineen said that due to the buildings being protected structures, it makes them more difficult to deal with. 

However, Mr Dineen said his most recent information is that the building’s owners will carry out work on the properties, but is unsure of any particular time frame and called it "a waiting game."

David and Bryan O’Connor are listed on Cork City Council’s derelict sites register as the owners of the buildings at 62, 63, 64 and 65.

Meanwhile, it is hoped that an international development company will help significantly regenerate the street in the years ahead, with student apartments and commercial units planned.

The Cork and London-based development company, BMOR, recently announced their intention to lodge plans for a mixed-use development, comprising a 280-bed student accommodation facility and two new retail units.

Significantly, it's also understood that BMOR are in advanced talks to redevelop North Main Street Shopping Centre, which has been blighted by vacancy since its anchor tenant Dunnes closed down more than four years ago.

The prime shopping centre site is thought to be crucial to the regeneration of the street, with speculation that a hotel could be built on the location.

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