‘Strong focus’ on tackling derelict sites across the county

Responding to a query from councillor Audrey Buckley, Cork County Council senior executive officer, Nicola Radley, said there will be a ‘strong focus’ from the council to tackle dereliction.
‘Strong focus’ on tackling derelict sites across the county

Ms Radley said a soft approach will be applied initially with property owners, but said the levy will be applied if required. Pic; Larry Cummins

CORK County Council is to adopt a county-wide focus on derelict sites this year, members of the Carrigaline Municipal District were told at a recent meeting.

Responding to a query from councillor Audrey Buckley, Cork County Council senior executive officer, Nicola Radley, said there will be a ‘strong focus’ from the council to tackle dereliction.

“There is a county-wide focus. The chief executive is putting a very strong focus, along with the director of services in municipal districts, on derelict sites for this year. It is a key area of focus for ourselves, for the engineers’ office, and for the property activation and regeneration unit. We will be working hand in hand with them. They will be taking on some of the more difficult sites to progress,” she said.

Ms Radley said a soft approach will be applied initially with property owners, but said the levy will be applied if required. 

“Through municipal districts, we will also be working with the solicitors’ department very closely. Our immediate intent is to identify the property owners and contact them in an informal way. Depending on the outcome of that, we will be contacting them in a formal way. 

"We will be intending to levy the properties, but we will take a softer approach first. We will give property owners the chance to work with us. We are not averse to applying the levy if we have to.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath greeted the focus on derelict sites. 

“I welcome the focus on dereliction this year. It is a huge issue within towns and villages. I would suggest we shouldn’t be too soft on the levy, as some buildings are lying there for a long time. It is well known to everyone that the levy exists and I think there should not be too much slack cut at all.

“The most powerful tool available to the council is the compulsory purchase order. That has to be part of our weaponry. We need to set some high-profile examples. We have to show the firepower is there and CPO has to be part of that process,” he added.

Carrigaline Municipal District officer Carol Conway said four sites were recently removed from the Carrigaline MD municipal sites land register. “An exercise has been carried out on the Carrigaline MD municipal sites land register and, as a result, four sites have been removed over the last couple of weeks. A walk-through of Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy was carried out late last year by an area engineer and the executive engineer of the Carrigaline Roads Office.”

Ms Conway said that several additional properties were also identified as consideration for derelict sites.

She added: “It is intended to engage with the owners where this can be established.

“It is hoped to start the process with informal communication, followed up by a more formal process should we get nowhere with the informal process. We would like to go all the way, if necessary, to a CPO with these properties.”

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