A NEW dereliction awareness group, Community Action Tenants Union (CATU), is seeking a number of council actions to take control of the issue of vacant and uninhabitable properties across the city.
CATU is a member-led union for renters, council tenants, mortgage holders, people in emergency and precarious housing. The organisation has more than 80 members across Cork City and county.
CATU has published an open letter with a number of requests.
“Taking into account the impact of dereliction on the lives of residents, and the damage to the cultural institutions and social landscape of the city, we have outlined a series of demands to address dereliction within Cork city.”
The group is looking the council to show a clear picture of the problem of dereliction through more extensive categorisation of derelict properties.
“The derelict properties register for Cork City lists 92 properties, however an independent review by Anois has identified at least 300 verifiably derelict properties within two kilometres of the city centre island.”
Anois is a Cork-based sustainable and functional design company, with a strong focus on raising awareness of Cork’s dereliction issues.
CATU want vacant sites be treated as derelict sites and extensive use of the derelict site levy to be explored.
The organisation also said that actions such as time-wasting, bad faith negotiation, and deliberate stalling by derelict site owners should not be tolerated by the council. The group also took umbrage with full demolition applications that could erase heritage and cultural sites in the city.
Council-owned dereliction sites should also be treated similarly to private ownership scenarios, according to CATU, and the organisation also wants to see further dereliction prevented through the provision of adequate funding and maintenance of council-owned and managed sites.
“CATU sees these demands as a reasonable and sincere effort to ensure delivery of derelict sites to either full working use or acquisition for public housing, community spaces, etc.”
In the coming weeks, the group intend to make progress on these issues: “As the number of derelict sites identified in the city greatly outnumbers those recognised on the public register, we, as a community union, see it as our duty to ensure that all such properties are correctly and fully registered.”
CATU also said project delays by the council would be poorly viewed.
“We will actively report such sites and seek response from the council and its members where registration has been found lacking. CATU does not accept time or bureaucracy as an excuse for delay in addressing these demands. In a housing crisis, delaying action further exacerbates the social harms of dereliction.”
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