FUNDS allocated to the Passage West docklands project has been hailed as a massive step in the transformation of the town.
Three major Cork projects, the Carrigaline Western Relief Road, Passage West Docklands and Midleton Main Street were all granted funding through the Government's Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) yesterday, while eight other Cork projects, currently under development, are also receiving financial assistance.
The purchase of the Passage West dockyard could be on the cards thanks to funds from the scheme and this is something local councillors and politicians have been calling for for some time.
County Hall submitted an application for €1.8m of the estimated €2.5m cost of Passage West dockyard which is for sale on the private market and this money was granted by the fund.
Tanáiste Simon Coveney welcomed the funding for Cork projects.
“In recent weeks I have worked closely with Ministers Eoghan Murphy and Paschal Donohoe to deliver this funding for projects that will make a real difference in Cork.
In particular, the €750,000 for the preparing of tender documents for the Carrigaline Western Relief Road was a project I made clear is essential for Carrigaline.”
The Tanaiste says the funding applications put forward by Cork were innovative and just needed this announcement and backing in order to get going.
“Projects like the purchase and redevelopment of the Docklands site at Passage West are ready to go. The €1.8 million allocated to this is one of the single biggest investments nationwide and now unlocks this project.”
Simon Coveney also welcomed the significant funding earmarked for the Brewery Quarter and Docklands area as well as significant money for public realm works in and around Carrigaline.
“Carrigaline is one of the fastest growing towns in the country and one of the best places in Ireland to live. Money like this is essential to keep it that way and build upon what we have.”
Local TD Micheal McGrath said that the purchase and redevelopment of the dockyard would transform Passage West and the Harbour area.
“It has enormous potential, it was always my objective to open the area back up to the water, I have been lobbying for this for some time.”
Local Councillor Seamus McGrath said that the funding allocation will allow the Council to negotiate with the current owner of the Dockyard for its purchase.
“The purchase of the Dockyard by Cork County Council would be a momentous day for Passage West.
“It would allow for a proper development plan to be put in place and open the town to the spectacular natural asset of the water. Many people have been pushing for the Dockyard to go into public ownership, including Public Representatives so today’s outcome is a result of that collective effort.”
The Carrigaline Western Relief Road which is a ‘ready to go’ project, just waiting for funds, received €750,000 from the URDF.
The council initially sought €6.15m to proceed to construction, having promised to make up the rest of the estimated €8.2m costs with its own funds.
Local TD Michael McGrath said that while he welcomes the funding to the project, €750,000 is not the €6m that the county council requested.
“This is not enough to get the project on site. I will be following up on this immediately, the road is urgently needed to open up potential town developments.”
Engineering and project management company Atkins signed a contract to complete the design in May 2017 with local councillors repeatedly saying that traffic in Carrigaline is getting worse weekly. Its Main Street carries up to 15,000 vehicles a day.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Seamus McGrath said that he envisaged the project picking up speed once funding was granted. “Land acquisition is complete, planning and the detailed design are ready, so if the funding is allocated the council can tender for construction,” he said.
“The intention is that the Western Relief Road is a project that we can turn the sod on in 2019 and probably reasonably early in the year. It is critical for the town,” he added.
Independent Councillor Marcia D’Alton said she was delighted by the funding allocation for Carrigaline.
"As the biggest town in the county, Carrigaline deserves that and again it is something I am delighted to have been part of promoting and supporting.”
There were a number of other projects that didn’t get financial backing through the fund.
County Hall sought €50.5m in contributions from the Government under URDF for €366.2m worth of projects across the county.
€15.8m was requested for the Cork Science and Innovation Park at Curraheen which it planned to match with €5.3m of its own funds.
The County Council also applied for €12m in funding for the development of new attractions at Fota Wildlife Park.
The URDF is one of four funds set up under the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and is being implemented by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
A total of €2 billion has been allocated to the URDF up to 2027, with €550 million available for between now and 2022.
The aim of the URDF is to stimulate new residential and commercial development in larger cities and towns.
These new developments will be supported by new services and amenities and will help to achieve the ‘compact growth’ that was set out in Project Ireland 2040.
Almost 200 applications were submitted to the Department since it launched its call for applications in July.
This is just the first round of funding with further rounds following in 2019, right up to 2027.
The next round of applications for funds will open in February 2019.