CITY Hall has been urged to secure the former Moores Hotel site on Morrison’s Island ahead of the start of the construction of flood defences in the area.
Plans for a public realm enhancement for Morrison’s Island, including new cycle lanes and walkways, went on display this week, with City Hall keen to start construction by the Autumn. Engineers involved in the scheme have described the plan as a catalyst for the entire quayside area, delivering a public amenity on the riverside.
Landscape architect Andrew Haley of The Paul Hogarth Company, which is involved in the design, said: “If [the scheme] only delivers a cosmetic improvement, we have missed the point. It needs to be a catalyst for regeneration in the wider area.”
It is envisioned that new cafés, restaurants and other businesses will seek to move into the area once the work has been completed.
Currently, the quayside area is dominated by parking spaces and a number of unused buildings. This includes Moore’s Hotel, which is currently the subject of an ongoing derelict sites file at the behest of Cork City Council.
Elected members have urged the local authority to move quickly on the site, claiming that having large unused or derelict structures on the quayside would undermine the point of the regeneration.
Speaking at a meeting of Cork City Council, Pat Ledwidge, deputy chief executive, said that the city is not happy with the current situation regarding the building.
“There are a number of significant buildings in our sights in the city centre,” he said, referring to unused and vacant sites. “We are taking a proactive view of these sites and taking into account the ability, desire and resources of the owners of such sites to do something positive with them. We are not happy with the Moores Hotel situation; we are taking action.”
It remains unclear what the potential future use of the site may be, though initial indications are that it is unsuitable for accommodation. However, City Hall did note that all uses ‘can be explored as part of the ongoing derelict sites investigation.’
Councillors urged the city to move fast to get plans in place for the area.
Sinn Féin’s Henry Cremin said: “We need to take steps to develop this site as soon as possible. There is absolutely no point in redesigning and rebuilding the quayside and adding new footpaths and cycle lanes only to have to tear up and start work on the buildings next door immediately.”