Owners of the Vita Cortex site to come forward with proposals for its redevelopment

Owners of the Vita Cortex site to come forward with proposals for its redevelopment
The former Vita Cortex plant on the Kinsale Road. Picture: Denis Minihane.

OWNERS of a key site slated for housing are set to deliver proposals to Cork City Council in the coming weeks.

The former Vita Cortex plant site on the Kinsale Road was placed on the Derelict Sites Register two years ago and has an estimated value of €2.25 million.

Legal issues are currently being worked out to allow the sale of the site.

Councillors have repeatedly called on Cork City Council to enforce Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to force through a sale of the land.

It is understood that the site’s location close to the Kinsale Raod Roundabout and its proximity to Tramore Valley Park means the council see it as an ideal housing development opportunity.

The site is listed by Cork City Council as being owned by Jack Ronan, John McHenry, Ian Kirby, Fitzwilliam Loan Management and Oak Tree Capital.

The site has been idle since May 2012 after an arduous 139-day sit-in protest by staff members over the terms of redundancy paid by the former owner of the business.

The Vita Cortex building in 2011 when workers staged a 139-day sit-in. Picture Denis Scannell
The Vita Cortex building in 2011 when workers staged a 139-day sit-in. Picture Denis Scannell

Following the dispute, which gained national and international attention, the foam packaging company closed after several decades of operating in Cork.

Councillor Seán Martin (FF) said the area is in need of affordable and social housing and has asked City Hall officials to consider the former Vita Cortex site due to its proximity to infrastructure links and bus routes.

He urged officials to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to force through a sale of the site.

Mr Martin raised the issue at City Hall again this week.

“It’s now two years since the site was placed on the Derelict Sites Register. Has the council any firm option on what it would like to see happening on the site or is it interested in CPO-ing it for housing?” he asked.

The council’s director of planning Fearghal Reidy said talks with the owners are ongoing.

“The Vita Cortex site was placed on the Derelict Sites Register in November 2017. Cork City Council is in contact with the owners of the site and understand that they are currently working out details that must be addressed before the site can be sold or redeveloped.

Friends and relations taking part in the solidarity protest outside the Vita Cortex factory in 2012. Picture: Richard Mills
Friends and relations taking part in the solidarity protest outside the Vita Cortex factory in 2012. Picture: Richard Mills

“I understand that the owners are coming into us with development proposals soon,” Mr Reidy added.

The Vita Cortex site has previously been the subject of anti-social behaviour including vandalism, drinking and a fire was started there in 2016 before it was secured by the owners.

Meanwhile, councillors have agreed to approve the rezoning of the nearby former CMP Dairies site at the junction of Tramore Road and Kinsale Road from "light industrial" to "residential, local services and institutional uses".

A document circulated to elected members stated; “Redevelopment of this vacant and underutilised site is desirable in terms of both general planning principles and national policy on brownfield reuse. The site is zoned for light industrial use, but there is not a strong demand for new light industrial uses at this location.

The site of the former CMP dairy. the site has been rezoned from "light industrial" to "residential, local services and institutional uses". Picture: Larry Cummins
The site of the former CMP dairy. the site has been rezoned from "light industrial" to "residential, local services and institutional uses". Picture: Larry Cummins

"There is an urgent need for more residential development in Cork City. The site is suitable for residential development with regard to accessibility and proximate amenities.

“The key uses immediately surrounding the site comprise rugby grounds, light industrial uses, and retail warehousing. It is not considered that a residential use would be incompatible with these existing uses, subject to appropriate site layout and design at the planning application stage.”

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