Calls from Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy to compulsory purchase order the derelict Lakeland’s Bar site on Avenue De Rennes have been rejected by planning officials in City Hall at the recent South East Local Area Meeting. Cllr McCarthy noted; “this site is in a very poor condition and is an eyesore in the area; it is also the key in unlocking the regeneration of the area around it and a key to furthering the Mahon Local Area Plan. There is not a community meeting that goes by in Mahon whereby the concern and frustration of locals is not vented about this site”.
Cork City Council in response to Cllr McCarthy’s motion acknowledges the poor condition of the Lakelands Bar site and the need for the removal of dereliction. To this end, a number of solutions are being considered by the Council.
Paul Moynihan, Head of Corporate Affairs has argued in his report to Cllr McCarthy that a compulsory purchase order is not considered appropriate at this time; “Acquisition of the site, without a clear plan for its use, would simply mean that the dereliction would fall upon the Council”.
Council Officers from Place-making, Property Services, and Strategic and Economic Development are currently considering the wider Avenue de Rennes area, including the Lakelands Bar site, and will develop the Council’s position over the coming months. The site is on the Derelict Site Register, with levies accruing. Should the site be compulsory purchased at a later-date, these levies can be deducted from the purchase price.
In response Cllr McCarthy has noted; “this site has remained derelict and unattended to for many years. The look of the building on the outside is atrocious. If there is no plan by the owner, he or she should put the site on the open market. There have been petitions and calls for a public library in Mahon and affordable housing; the site adjacent to the building has also been subject to illegal dumping from other sources. The adjacent car park also remains in limbo and is in dire need of resurfacing. Such conditions completely jar against the very positive work of Mahon Community Centre and the Mahon Community Development Project and the community work of the local schools. The owner of the derelict site needs to use it or lose it. The local people of Mahon deserve better than what is currently there”.
The large number of public submissions is most welcome and to accommodate a good tract of public comment is also welcome.
I will be voting for this proposal.
I’m happier with this Docklands part 8 report than I was on the Morrison’s Island plan Part 8. There is more consultation than ever before on such a project.
For me the heritage of this area is important – the built and cultural heritage.
Albert Road and the Hibernian Buildings complex – dating to the mid-1880s – was a product of the Cork Improved Dwelling Company – an employer organisation who had the vision to build 420 houses for their workers in the city – apart from Hibernian buildings, the other blocks being around Friar Street-Evergreen Buildings and Rathmore Terrace at the top of St Patrick’s Hill. The company, which set up in January 1860 and ran to about 1960 had its heart the importance of provision of affordable housing for workers in the city but also neighbourhoods with architectural character, where families could be brought up safely and a sense of place could be built – which this Part 8 is also about today.
Hibernian Buildings was lucky in its opening in the 1880s that Jewish refugees from Lithuania rented out some of the properties and within twenty years there were 300 Jews living in the area.
Today knocking on the doors of the area, the Jewish family legacy is gone and perhaps 20 old stock families have survived in the area, many of whose relatives worked in the docks. Much of the housing stock in Hibernian Buildings is rented – so I constantly fear for the fleetingness of its neighbourhood. Some who live in the area have shared with me their passion for the neighbourhood and worry about its future and the looming new buildings overlooking the area.
I am happy with this part 8 that through the public realm regeneration that the character of the neighbourhood will be regenerated and enhanced.
I am also happy that the quay project itself does not destroy heritage but takes an ugly concrete structure – rebuilt after its 1975 collapse – to create where the public can come and appreciate the story of Docklands through seating, trees and soft public realm measures for cyclists and buses, and a pontoon in the river.
My main worry with this area is the creation of a bland-placeless environment, where glass box design with no architectural detail rules and street development takes a back seat.
I am reminded of the 1780 Cork Corporation plan for the area where they wanted to great an Oliver Plunkett Street complex with side streets in docklands.
And when I talk about vision, I am quite worried that our South Docklands plan is taking time to come out. The Council needs this plan as soon as possible as the piecemeal development of South Docks continues apace. Developing a place with character and a sense of place is crucial for me.
Kieran’s Question to CE:
To ask the CE for an update on the progress of Marina Park? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
That the City Council place traffic calming measures through Ballintemple in particular exiting from Lower Beaumont Drive onto Blackrock Road as it has become a dangerous junction for local residents (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That the one per cent art scheme connected with the Douglas Flood Defence Scheme be initiated and the funding put aside to attain proposals from interested artists for a work within Douglas Community Park (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That the Lee to Sea Greenway as proposed by the Cork Cycling Campaign and Cork City Council be progressed to its early planning stages (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That the City Council’s 1920-2020 Commemorative programme be put together as a matter of urgency (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)