City now has 97 derelict sites

City now has 97 derelict sites
A site on Assumption Road, Cork, (in foreground) which is privately owned and is on the City Council vacant sites register. Picture: Denis Minihane.

THE number of registered derelict sites in the city is increasing, with 97 now on the list.

The number is up from 75 at the end of 2017 with a total of €446,700 worth of levies on idle sites being issued by City Hall.

However, just €44,000 of this has been collected to date with Council officials saying they are looking to be more proactive on claiming the levies from site owners.

Penalties for owners of derelict sites will increase from 3% to 7% of the property market value from 2020.

The Council also has a further 14 properties listed on its Vacant Sites Register.

Councillor Thomas Gould believes City Hall needs to be more “aggressive” to prevent owners from sitting on land. “Ten years I have been on about derelict sites,” he said.

“I walked with the former city manager and other councillors through Blackpool when there were over 90 derelict sites in the city. Now we have 97. We’re not being aggressive. We should be starting to put Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) on these sites.

“People are sitting on land. There is a shop on Blarney Street which has been derelict for 33 years. How can it be idle for 33 years and we do nothing as a Council?

“We must take responsibility.”

City Council’s head of planning, Pat Ledwidge, said the reason the Council’s Derelict Sites Register is increasing is that City Hall is doing more to force developers to act on their land.

Mr Ledwidge said: “I saw a figure on social media that said there is only 87 on Dublin city's derelict sites register.

"That shows you the difference in scale between what we are doing and what other cities are doing. They might be using other mechanisms. We are using the Derelict Sites Act.

“The problem with CPOs is we can't acquire as much as councillors want us to because there is a cash flow element there. We need to be confident that if we acquire a property, we can dispose of it so the cash flow situation doesn't get worse,” he added.

City Council has planning permission listed for 32 sites which could yield as many as 2,189 housing units. Four of these will be eligible to be levied in 2020.

Councillor John Sheehan (FF) urged Council officials to address this.

“There seems to be two types of planning permission now sought by developers. One for housing and apartments and another to solely increase the value of a site and perhaps flip it,” he said.

“We've seen that around the city where there doesn't seem to be any intention to develop a site but sell it on. Perhaps we need to take an aggressive approach to that,” he added.

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