'A site with a huge amount of history': Welcome for long-awaited activity at former Cork hospital 

“It will create huge opportunities for people looking for social and affordable housing, and it brings to a conclusion the final question hanging over this particular site for a number of years." 
'A site with a huge amount of history': Welcome for long-awaited activity at former Cork hospital 

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has commenced works on the site, including erecting a secure boundary around the site, and demolition of non-protected structures.

There was a broad welcome in Cork this week for news that works have commenced to enable the site of the former St Kevin’s Hospital to be turned into 265 social and affordable homes.

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has commenced works on the site, including erecting a secure boundary around the site, and demolition of non-protected structures.

It is expected that enabling works will take several months, and will allow the LDA to complete the tender process for the appointment of a main contractor for the development.

The hillside site overlooking the Lee across from the Kingsley Hotel and Cork County Hall spans 14 acres, and includes the dilapidated building that was once St Kevin’s Hospital.

Artists impression of development at St Kevin's site, which will comprise 265 social and affordable homes. 
Artists impression of development at St Kevin's site, which will comprise 265 social and affordable homes. 

Planning has already been granted for 265 new social and affordable homes to be built on the site, including a mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom townhouses, duplexes, and apartments. The first homes are due to become available in 2024.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Tony Fitzgerald, Lord Mayor of Cork when the St Kevin’s site was destroyed by fire in 2017, said it will be a “great boost to the northside”.

“It will create huge opportunities for people looking for social and affordable housing, and it brings to a conclusion the final question hanging over this particular site for a number of years,” he said.

The St Kevin’s development will have a strong focus on sustainability, with public transport links to the city and to other local amenities.

Being close to major employment centres, third level institutions, and local facilities, it is expected walking and cycling will be attractive options for residents.

Phelim O’Neill, LDA’s head of property, said they are pleased to commence the enabling works and bring the site closer to the start of full construction.

“The development will regenerate an unused and derelict piece of state land to deliver much needed social and affordable housing for Cork. We would like to thank Cork City Council and the HSE for their assistance in progressing the project,” he said.

Local councillors in the Cork City North-West region welcomed the next step in the significant housing development. 

“There’s been a lot of negativity that this would never go ahead," Mr Fitzgerald said. 

"Both the HSE and the City Council, as well as the Department of Housing have worked together to progress this." 

Fellow Fianna Fáil councillor John Sheehan said it was great to see a positive turn in the building’s long history.

“It’s a site with a huge amount of history, many people will remember when it was part of the mental health services… It hasn’t been used for a long time, and it’s great now to see it finally being turned around and put to productive use in a very positive way,” he said.

However, concerns have been raised about some elements of the planned development, surrounding affordability and infrastructure.

Importance of affordability 

Sinn Féin’s Councillor Mick Nugent is calling for clarity on what proportion of homes will be affordable, and ballpark figures of what affordable will mean.

“It remains to be seen how the element of affordable housing will work out. 

We still need detail on that. It really does need to be affordable, affordable housing is what people need,” he said.

Councillor Kenneth Collins, also of Sinn Féin, highlighted potential issues around infrastructure leading to and from the site.

“There’s over 250 homes going in there, and you have one entrance and one exit. That would be worrying for me, I can imagine trying to get out of there at rush hour in the mornings. I welcome the fact there’s homes, but infrastructure is key here,” he said.

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