A LARGE derelict apartment block in the heart of Carrigtwohill has been described as an “appalling eyesore” that needs to be “blown up or finished out.”
The Castlelake complex has been lying idle for years and has become a source of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
Local councillor Anthony Barry said people are sick looking at the site, which is located in the heart of the east Cork town.
Ninety units in a high-density apartment complex are lying idle at a time when people are “crying out” for a home, with thousands of social housing waiting lists.
However, Mr Barry said there is a “lack of demand for these types of housing units” in Carrigtwohill, a village that was among the fastest growing in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger boom.
He insists the compact apartment blocks, which are being pushed by council planners and An Bord Pleanála (ABP), are not the answer to the housing crisis.
A number of planning applications for housing developments along the train line had been rejected by the Council and An Bord Pleanála because they were too low in density.
“There are other reasons mentioned, but density would be the main one,” Mr Barry said.
“Any developer will tell you, from an economic and viability point of view, that there is no demand for these types of developments,” Mr Barry said.
The councillor said that he hoped something constructive was done with the building in Carrigtwohill and said he hoped the units were repaired and rented out to people who needed them.
“The units are in a bad way at the moment, all the windows have been broken and the copper has been taken. I don’t think they would sell on the open market, but they can definitely be rented to people.”
Mr Barry said he hoped something beneficial to the community was done with the block, such as social housing, or accommodation for the elderly.
“I think a mixed housing unit is probably the best option for it.”
In terms of the future for housing in the wider Cork area, particularly along the train line in towns such as Midleton, Cobh and Carrigtwohill, Mr Barry said he thought high-density apartment blocks, such as this one, were a “huge mistake.”
Mr Barry said he understood the days of the spacious three-bed, semi-detached housing estate are now gone, but he said that the large scale apartment blocks are not the answer.
“Why are they building them and who are they building them for?” Mr Barry asked.
The development was initially built by Ascon Gable during the latter years of the boom, but is understood to have changed ownership in recent years.