Blackpool excluded from plan

Blackpool excluded from plan
Blackpool, Cork. Pic: Denis Scannell

CORK City Council is to make a third application to extend a city regeneration scheme to Blackpool following calls from local councillors.

The Living City Initiative, launched by central government in 2015, is designed to regenerate historic city centre areas through refurbishment grants for buildings built before 1915.

Blackpool was controversially omitted from the initial scheme and has not been added since, despite two requests from the local authority.

The most recent request - submitted by the local authority in December 2016 - did not even receive a response from the department, according to city officials.

Local councillor John Sheehan said it was disappointing that Blackpool has been ignored to date.

In all, there have been just 14 grants paid out under the scheme in Cork, though Mr Sheehan said that even a small uptake in Blackpool would make a big difference to an area which struggles with dereliction and vacancy.

He said, "It’s two years down the road and it still hasn’t been extended to Blackpool, which is disappointing.

"Now, it is a small uptake on a national basis - it is a very niche scheme - but it could still make a significant difference to Blackpool."

Mr Sheehan, who runs a doctor's surgery on Thomas Davis St, said that parts of the village are among the most derelict in the entire city.

"Blackpool needs all the help it can get," he said.

"If you look at somewhere like Thomas Davis St, there is a huge amount of dereliction and vacancy so even four or five new houses under this scheme would make a big difference to an area like that.” 

A number of housing initiatives have been earmarked for the Blackpool area, a move that Mr Sheehan said should help to reverse the trends seen locally.

He said, "The seeds are being sewn slowly in the area. Respond are doing ten houses, Share are doing some remodelling and there is the beginning of steps in Thomas Davis St with Respond and the City Council.

"The results of these might be a year or a year and a half away, but it is very welcome to finally see some progress."

He said that Blackpool has long been forgotten about on a local level.

"I found an old Evening Echo recently. It was from twenty years ago and the front page headline was ‘Blackpool Forgotten Yet Again.’ 

"You could have written the same article today word for word – the concerns are the same."

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