New bridge part of Cork housing plan

New bridge part of Cork housing plan
27/04/2017 Minister at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney TD during a launch the new Housing Land Map at the Customs House, Dublin. This online, interactive portal will provide details of residentially-zoned lands; local authority-owned and Land Aggregation Scheme sites; publicly-owned sites with potential for housing development; and active private housing construction sites in the Dublin region. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Significant transport investment is expected to be included alongside deals for developers to build on sites on either side of the river announced by Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney yesterday. His latest plan will see more than 2,000 hectares of land over 800 sites across the state be made available to private developers to build housing on. This is on top of recent funding announcements for infrastructure schemes around the city and county.

The docklands and the Old White Church Road will be key to Cork's housing strategy. A €15.5 million development plan is being funded for the South Docklands. Along with plans to improve infrastructure in Albert Quay, it is also likely that the Eastern Gateway Bridge will be built to link the area to the northside of the river.

This part of the plan could deliver up to 700 homes, according to Mr Coveney.

A €10 million development on the Old Whitechurch Road has the potential to deliver 600 homes. The project will include the improvement and wideneing of approach roads to improve accessibility and capacity, and the augmentation of infrastructure like water and drainage.

Mr Coveney has denied that his latest plan is to privatise public lands on a large scale, and said that it is a "pragmatic" solution to the housing crisis.

He said that the plan will provide at least 50,000 on plots of land that are going unused. Some of these sites will be used exclusively for social housing, while others will be a mix of private and social housing. 

A database of sites will be made available and expressions of interest from private developers and housing agencies will be sought in the coming weeks.

The plan was welcomed by Fianna Fáil spokesperson on housing Barry Cowen, but he said that it would not be enough on its own to solve the housing crisis. 

"The plan is a step in the right direction in so far as the Minister finally has the information he needs to facilitate the construction of new housing developments on State owned land. Minister Coveney also needs to do much more to address the significant barriers which are preventing the construction of housing. The Minister needs to put in place a development finance vehicle to help make funding available to facilitate the construction of housing. The excessive development charges must also be tackled and the VAT rates on construction need to be lowered until we return to a functioning housing market," he said.

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