Cork County Council today announced that it has submitted a proposal for a significant extension to the Cork City Council area of jurisdiction.
On foot of the establishment last Friday of an Implementation Oversight Group by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to oversee a boundary alteration process and its implementation by both authorities, the Council has submitted a detailed boundary extension proposal to the City Council which would see the geographical area of the city increase by 84.5% and its current population immediately increasing by 31.2% to 164,915.
This additional area, coupled with the potential for major growth within the existing city through regeneration of key “brownfield” development areas of, Docklands South and North, Mahon, Blackpool, Tramore Road / Kinsale Road and Tivoli would provide for core urban City form growth up to a potential population in excess of 283,000together with potential additional jobs growth of over 50,000 within the city.
The proposed extension would grow the City Council functional area from its current 37.8 sq.km to 69.8 sq.km. This would make Cork City nearly two thirds the size of the functional area of Dublin City Council, which extends to 115 sq km., thus reflecting its status as the second city in the state.
Critically, in terms of international benchmarks of Urban Cities, the proposal would provide for a long term growth in population density levels from the current 3,323 per sq.km to a potential 4,065 per sq. Km. This again reflects an urban City form comparable to Dublin City which has a density level currently of 4,822 per sq. Km.
The proposed extension immediately represents a transfer of Commercial Rates and Local Property Tax (LPT) base with a value of over €16m. The future income generation potential of the proposed extended City Council from new economic and residential development through commercial rates and LPT would amount to approximately €60m per annum. This additional funding is of major significance in terms of creating the conditions for future growth and the sustainability of services provided by the City Council.
In making this proposal, the Council has reaffirmed its stated commitment of the last number of years from both the Elected Body and its Chief Executive that it always recognised that a boundary extension to reflect an urban City form is reasonable. In proposing this alteration to the city boundary, the Council is promoting a significant opportunity to grow a City that reflects the core principles of an urban City. Central to the success of such settlements is high density of population and a concentration of services in the economic, cultural, social and city community spheres reflecting Urban City form which drives sustainable development.
The proposal also responds effectively to communities and towns within Metropolitan Cork who have developed a sense of place, identity and connection with their natural hinterlands in a manner which makes Cork the unique offering that it is.
The proposal critically provides for significant population and jobs growth within the proposed new city boundary through the inclusion of significant additional zoned lands and strategic land reserves recently earmarked by the County Council for long term city/metropolitan Cork population growth.
Clearly, over time, in terms of future proofing and responding to generational changes over the next decades, such an extension provides for significantly greater opportunity to continuously renew and mould Cork City to the type of urban City form that reflects international city benchmarks.
In terms of positioning the City within the wider area of Metropolitan Cork as the engine of growth for the greater Cork region, the proposed extension responds to the principles of the emerging National Planning Framework (NPF). These principles include the development of more compact and accessible living areas, the importance of cities as growth centres with stronger urban areas which encourage scale and concentration of people and economic activity. The NPF will also have a significant emphasis on urban focussed growth through the development of brownfield sites. The protection of rural areas which are under urban influence is also a core NPF objective.
In this context, the City and County Council have already presented a joint submission to the NPF which seeks investment levels of up to €4.6bn. Of this figure, over €3.0bn would be targeted directly at supporting the type of infrastructural development that is required to enable the city to reach the potential that this extended city boundary proposal can offer.
In making this proposal, the County Council has also pointed to its continued desire for an agreed whole of Cork approach between City and County in areas such as strategic land use,transportation planning and economic development strategy. This would also provide for the development of a Metropolitan Area Plan jointly, within a new Cork Planning and Economic Development Strategy, which would set out a detailed plan and implementation process for the delivery of key projects across all sectors that are required to grow Cork. This again would respond to the principles of the National Planning Framework which will have a particular focus on planning and delivery mechanisms for metropolitan growth at the heart of regional development.