10 Jul 2019

Kieran’s Comments, Dereliction debate, Cork City Council meeting, 9 July 2019

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For me the derelict site fine has become too blunt an instrument to deal with dangerous buildings in older parts of the city. At this moment is time, landowners are fined 3 per cent per year of the land value. However, it was heard during a Council finance committee meeting last week that under five per cent of the fines can be only drawn down by the Council due to many long term derelict sites in limbo with their legal title and in NAMA.

There are over 100 registered derelict sites in Cork City, which have been identified as derelict and unsightly and whose landowners have been fined. It’s an absolute disgrace that some owners have left their buildings in such a state over decades. I have no problem with someone who genuinely cannot develop their premises for financial reasons and who board up their building accordingly plus then develop when they can- But I have a huge problem with landowners with no sense of civic responsibility, who let their properties fall into disrepair and who create rotting concrete wildernesses”.

Even in my own ward from Ballinlough to Donnybrook, there are empty properties- where the owners seem to have disappeared. Many could be turned back around into housing units. Many are the ongoing concern of neighbours – fearful of rodents or fire or generally bringing down the calibre of an area. There must be quicker mechanisms to cut through the red tape- especially legal title and NAMA related properties.

There is a need to have a proper inner-city renewal plan. For too long places like North and South Main Street, Shandon, Barrack Street & Blackpool are limping on….indeed only for the Shandon Area Renewal Area group, volunteers, Cork Community Art Link…Shandon Street would be further down the road of dereliction…indeed such groups have added to the creative hub of the city. We need to build more of such groups.

Barrack Street is more or lost except for the traditional pubs that survive on student trade.

It always seems to me that there is no vision for such streets, no way forward. Shandon Street should be recognised officially as key heritage quarter.

History is oozing out of these areas.

And I see this week as well its two years since the burning of the former St Kevin’s Hospital. it is still now an abandoned and burned heap of heritage with no plan for it…the city needs a vision for such heritage markers.

The city centre needs to the core attractive place to live, work and visit; to safeguard, protect and enhance the built heritage and promote a sustainable, diverse and integrated residential and business community.

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