A FORTHCOMING city-wide strategic plan needs to prioritise future-proofing infrastructure to deal with development and expansion of third-level institutions and hospitals, a councillor has claimed.
With Cork’s population set to rise from its current 210,000 to an estimated 360,000 by 2040, councillor Seán Martin - chair of the council’s policy group on strategic planning and economic development - has urged City Hall officials to invite Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), University College Cork (UCC), Cork University Hospital (CUH) and other stakeholders into discussions to develop the next City Development Plan.
Mr Martin said the recent boundary expansion - which brought large county areas such as Glanmire, south Douglas, Ballincollig and Blarney into the city - coupled with plans for large commercial and residential developments in the docklands means the city’s core transport systems, accommodation and expanding health and educational campuses must be factored into the next City Hall blueprint for Cork to ensure sustainable development.
The €3.5bn Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) is set to be adopted by both city and county councils by the end of the year but is a long-term plan up until 2040.
Mr Martin believes immediate concerns around third-level and hospital expansions are more pressing.
“We need to put in place sustainable student, worker, transport developments that would cater for the needed development over the next number of years.
“We need to bring in organisations like the Bon Secours, UCC, CIT and interact with them going forward and get their five-year plans and see what they see for the future of the city.
“As a council, we need to ensure that if UCC is going to expand and they are going to take in more students over the next five years, we need to ask them what are the needs in transport and housing and what other integrated services to see what works best for the city, not what’s best for UCC or for developers. That is something we need to develop,” Mr Martin added.
The City Development Plan is Cork City Council’s main strategic planning policy document and the current one, running from 2015 to 2021, was rubber-stamped in 2015.
The first new City Development Plan of the newly expanded city will begin to devised from early next year.