CORK city councillors have voted in favour of a proposal to sell council-owned land on the northside of the city to the IDA for €1.25m.
The land is located at Hollyhill, Knocknacullen West, to the north of tech giant Apple’s campus.
The report proposed to dispose of the freehold interest in an area of ground, referred to as ‘Lot A’, measuring approximately 3.81 hectares to the IDA’s Strategic Property Division for €1.25m – “the best consideration reasonably obtainable, based on an independent valuation by the State Valuation Office”.
The report stated that proposed disposal of Lot A “is required to meet immediate employment needs in the area”.
It added that in discussions with the IDA, it was indicated that further land may be required “to meet short to medium employment needs”, and that the council had therefore identified an additional area of 6.12 hectares for possible acquisition by the IDA.
This site, referred to as ‘Lot B’ is also at Hollyhill and the report stated that, should an application for purchase be made by the IDA, councillors would be informed.
A separate vote would then take place at a later stage if the IDA does proceed to submit an application to purchase this second parcel of council-owned land.
The vote to dispose of Lot A was passed by the majority of councillors, with 20 votes in favour and two against.
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald was amongst the councillors to voice support for the proposal.
He said there had been extensive discussions between the council and the IDA to consider growth of potential developments in the area and stated that he believed the valuation process was also very detailed.
Mr Fitzgerald said the prospect of further development in the area is “great news for the North West ward”.
This was echoed by Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent.
Mr Nugent mentioned reports that the development could possibly be an expansion of Apple’s campus, which he said would mark the company’s third expansion in recent years and which he would welcome.
He had suggested that some of the funding from the sale of the land could be put towards the development of a regional park in the North West ward.
An Rabharta Glas councillor Lorna Bogue expressed some concern surrounding the proposal at the meeting.
She said while the capital raised from the sale of the land could be put into other projects, she was a “bit concerned about the price” which she felt was “not in line with market value”.
Similar concerns were raised by Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan who said she was “unsettled” around the sale of the land which she feared could reduce the amount of control Cork City Council might have when it comes to future development.
The council’s director of corporate affairs and international relations, Paul Moynihan said it was “premature” to say what company could be involved in potential development of the land.
He said that any proposed development would be subject to a planning application, allowing people their say.
In relation to the valuation of the site he said this had been professionally valued by the State Valuation Office.