Address by Joe Gavin, Cork City Manager at Cork Chamber of Commerce breakfast briefing, 26th April, 2007
The Docklands comprises 400 acres of land with four kilometres of waterfront all within a 20 minute walk from City Hall. The overall vision for the regenerated Docklands was set out in the Docklands Strategy Study commissioned by the Council. It proposed a vibrant mixed use quarter developed to the highest standards and to be in effect an easterly extension of the city centre. There is potential for seven million sq.ft. of non residential development and for 10,000 units of residential development. This would provide for a resident population of 20,000 and provide for 25,000 jobs.
Since the strategic vision was launched in 2002, significant interest has been generated in the Docklands area.
This interest has seen property values in the Docklands rocket in the past five years. Development sites have been assembled by the private sector and property owners are actively looking at ways of developing their lands.
I set up a team which is headed up by Pat Ledwidge, Director of Services, to specifically facilitate and support the redevelopment of the Docklands. Pat and his team have been working in close consultation with all stakeholders in preparing a masterplan and in identifying measures which need to be taken. A committee of City Council has been established to help with policy development.
Achievements to date include:
â€¢ Local Area Plans
The North Docks Local Area Plan was completed in late 2005.
â€¢ Cork Docklands Economic Study
The Cork Docklands Economic Study was completed in December 2006. It provides an overview of the economic potential of the Cork Docklands and indicates how this project will assist in the achievement of local, regional and national objectives. This study also identifies targets for Foreign Direct Investment and other opportunities in the residential, commercial and tourism/leisure areas.
â€¢ Showgrounds C.P.O.
The C.P.O. on the Cork Showgrounds and adjacent lands was confirmed by An Bord PleanÃ¡la on February 10th, 2007. The City Council will commence detailed planning of Marina Park shortly and plan to take possession of these lands in late 2007.
â€¢ Contaminated Lands Study
The study has now been completed. The contamination levels are such that they can be dealt with in a reasonable manner.
â€¢ Business and Implementation Plan
One of the Economic Study recommendations was the preparation of a Business and Implementation Plan for Docklands. Work on this plan has commenced and Deloitte has been appointed to assist in its preparation.
A number of Stakeholder groups have been established over the past year. These consist of:
â€¢ Major Landowners/Developers
â€¢ General Stakeholders
â€¢ Publicly funded Service Providers
â€¢ Arts and Culture Interest
In addition contact is maintained with Government Departments and Public Agencies.
â€¢ Cork Docklands National Forum
An Taoiseach recently announced the establishment of the Cork Docklands National Forum. This body will co-ordinate responses at Government Department level to issues arising from the development of the Cork Docklands and support Cork City Council in the implementation of its plans.
This approach was recommended in the Cork Docklands Economic Study.
The process of identifying key projects that will benefit from funding by the National Development Plan 2006-2013 has commenced. Funding needs will be clarified when the South Dock Local Area Plan is published.
The priority projects to be funded by the Gateway Fund will be set out once the relevant procedures are issued by the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government.
In October 2006 the European Union allowed the application of State Aid to companies setting up in Cork Docklands following a submission by the Irish Government which was based on a proposal prepared by Cork City Council.
This may apply to all companies up to the end of 2008 and to small and medium size enterprises (less than 250 employees) to the end of 2013.
â€¢ Tidal Flooding Study â€“ Lee Catchment Flood Risk and Management Study (Lee CFRAM)
This study is progressing and the consultants have been focusing on the issues for Docklands.
â€¢ Water Street Bridge
A feasibility study has been prepared for Water Street Bridge.
The Local Area Plan for the South Docklands will be ready for publication next month. This will set out clear guidelines for the nature of development to be permitted and will identify public infrastructure requirements including social infrastructure such as schools. This plan will indicate the need for two new bridges â€“ one at Water Street and the second at the Skew Bridge connecting the Docklands to Lower Glanmire Road. We have taken a policy decision that both bridges will be opening bridges to ensure that the maritime access to the heart of the city continues. Future maritime traffic, as the main port activities relocate, may be leisure related but it is considered important that the harbour which adds so much to the heritage and character of Cork is maintained intact.
New development in the Docklands area to date include the Clarion Hotel and office development at Lappâ€™s Quay, the Webworks at Albert Quay and office development on Monahan Road which houses CITCO. While there is need to provide significant infrastructure to service the regeneration of the Docklands there are large areas available for immediate development fully serviced with infrastructure. These lands include the former timber yard at Water Street which has planning permission for 212 apartments.
They include Horganâ€™s Quay and Kent Station where there is potential for significant residential and mixed development. At Albert Quay there are significant sites which can be immediately developed.
As we move into the heart of the Docklands there are again large tracts which can be developed and need not wait for the provision of further infrastructure.
At the eastern end of the Docklands in the vicinity of PÃ¡irc UÃ Chaoimh there are 30 acres of land. Two ownerships are involved. They have come together in a joint venture and have a target of lodging a planning application for development by July. Their development proposals include for office, residential and retail development and a 200 bedroom hotel.
The development planned extends to 2.3 million sq.ft. and will represent the single largest development in the city. They plan to commence construction work once planning permission is secured. This joint venture project involving Howard Holdings and Tedcastles is about showing initiative, vision, creativity, risk-taking and making things happen. The City Council has plans to develop the adjacent Showgrounds comprising 22 acres into Marina Park which will be a major recreation resource for the entire city.
A number of particular activities in the Docklands will require to be relocated in the future if the full potential of the Docklands is to be realised. These include 3 SEVESO sites. It is the intention of the City Council to seek the application of a special tax incentive package to encourage and facilitate the re-location of these activities.
Attracting third-level educational establishments to the Docklands is regarded as important and again the City Council will seek support from Government either by way of direct funding or tax incentive to encourage such development.
In addition to the development of the Showgrounds we see the provision of a new bridge as being an important catalyst for Docklands regeneration. We would like to see major private sector involvement and funding on the bridge project to which we will give high priority.
The vast bulk of land in the Docklands is owned by the private sector and as such private sector investment is central to the development of the Docklands.
These lands are held by a small number of owners and it is important that there should be co-operation between them to ensure co-ordinated development. I am very pleased with the level of involvement and co-operation which has been shown by all of the land owners so far.
The City Council for its part has set out a clear planning framework, it has commissioned various studies which will be available to developers, it will secure the provision of necessary public infrastructure and it will champion and support the Docklands regeneration. As a planning authority, a housing authority, a roads authority and a sanitary authority the City Council is in a position to contribute in a major way to the successful redevelopment of Corkâ€™s Docklands.
The involvement of the I.D.A. and Enterprise Ireland will be critical in assisting with the attraction of employment opportunities to the Docklands to meet the target of 25,000 jobs.
Over the past five years we have seen the centre of our city transformed. Over the next five years the regeneration of our Docklands will take centre stage. This most exciting project will take ten to fifteen years to complete and will require the full support of the City Council, the Private Sector, the Government and relevant State Departments and Agencies.
We can look forward with confidence to a new era of development in the life of the city as we roll out the regeneration of our Docklands.