Cork's derelict sites are worth €20 million

Cork's derelict sites are worth €20 million
St. Kevin's derelict building on Cork's Northside is one of the most prominent buildings on the Derelict Sites register. Picture Evan Shelly.

THE WAR on dereliction in Cork city continues to grow with more than 90 sites now placed on the derelict sites register by City Hall.

Officials are hoping that an extra five sites will be added by the end of the year, pending the outcome of legal processes and potential interventions by the owners of the sites.

A report issued by City Hall in response to a query from Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Brosnan shows that there are 91 sites currently on the register, valued at a total of €19,921,973.51. There are three sites on the list provided that do not have an estimated value included, meaning that the total figure is likely to surpass the €20 million mark.

It includes €1.2 million worth of derelict sites on North Main Street, as well as several major standalone sites, such as the former St Kevin's hospital and associated buildings, valued at €2.7 million; the former Murrayford site on Kyrl's Quay close to the Bridewell Garda Station, valued at €1.9 million; the former Vita Cortex factory on Kinsale Road, valued at €2.25 million; and a block of six buildings at Carmelite Place on Western Road, valued at €1 million.

There are also several sites on prominent, busy city centre streets, including Oliver Plunkett Street, South Main Street, North Mall, Barrack Street and Cornmarket Street.

The former Vita Cortex building on the Kinsale Road is also on the register. Picture Denis Scannell
The former Vita Cortex building on the Kinsale Road is also on the register. Picture Denis Scannell

Efforts are also underway to add additional sites to the register, according to the report.

"Notices have been served on the owners and time remains for submissions to be made by the owners to the notices issued. It is hoped approximately five more sites could be placed on the register by year-end, pending the legal process and potential representations by property owners," the report said.

The information was issued in response to a query from Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Brosnan.

Mr Brosnan called on city management to forward the list to the Department of Environment to seek funds to purchase the properties and put them to use for housing.

Addressing city management, he said: "Could I ask that you would write to the secretary-general of the Department of Environment and ask for the money to buy those 91 properties. Tell them we want it immediately as the Housing Minister is doing nothing to solve the homeless problem. If we have the money, we can buy the houses now."

Ann Doherty, the chief executive of Cork City Council, said: "Not all of the sites are suitable for housing, but for those that are, I look forward to working with colleagues in the roads and housing departments to progress those that are."

The report also included details of the sites currently on the city's vacant sites register. The process of adding sites to this register allows for a number of appeals and can slow down the time it takes to add a site to the register.

Among the 11 sites currently on the vacant sites register are Farranferris Grounds, a site on Curraheen Road, land off the South Douglas Road and the former Lough Tavern.

The owners of sites on the Vacant Sites Register are subject to annual fines of 3%, which will increase to 7% in 2020.

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