Hi, there! — Welcome to the fourth issue of my monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on my work for Cork City North East.
Please let me know what you think. If you have any feedback, questions or want to raise an issue, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best!
p.s. You can share this newsletter, and invite other people you know to register, by sharing this link ... oliver.ie/newsletter.
Motions and notions
Every month, each councillor can submit up to four motions to Cork City Council. Normally, I can also ask two formal questions to the Chief Executive. However, one of these questions is to the Local Area Committee, which won't meet this month because of Summer.
Before the deadline each month, I meet with my local group, the Cork City North Greens, and we agree motions and questions for the month ahead. We call this our "motions and notions" meeting :-)
If you have ideas or suggestions for a motion, or have a question you want asked, just let me know!
Or join the Cork City North Greens ... my.greenparty.ie/join
"To ask the Chief Executive if there has been communication between Cork City Council and the Freemasons regarding disposal of lands at Bishop Lucy Park and the consideration with respect to such a disposal, including agreements on public use of the Freemasons Hall?"
"That Cork City Council will designate a day for the hosting of community flea market events to promote the community-based economy and the reuse by exchange or trade of unwanted goods in the local economy rather than waste disposal."
"That Cork City Council supports the ending of duplicate kerbside domestic waste collection operators operating in the same area, through area-based tenders or the remunicipalisation of waste collection services; and that this message shall be forwarded to the Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Ossian Smyth."
"That Cork City Council's Civic Amenity Site will accept domestic cooking oil for recycling."
"That Cork City Council will report on public realm, traffic calming, parking management and pedestrian safety improvements for (Upper) Grattan Hill."
Two major announcements for public transport in Cork were made public in June. These are being funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA), under my Green Party colleague, Eamon Ryan.
The first of these is a whole new network of bus routes that will come into effect from 2023. Among the changes, areas like Banduff Road, Upper Glanmire and Kilcully will be brought in to the city bus service for the first time.
The current 208 will be see increased frequency and extended service to Glanmire. A new hourly service will provide an orbital route of Mayfield, Ballyvolane, Blackpool and the city centre. Another new hourly service will connect Old Youghal Road to Ballypheane and Tramore Valley Park.
Maybe most significantly, the 207 will be replaced entirely with a series of new services connecting Ballyvolane and the city centre via Blackpool.
Bus priority measures
Also published were the first set of proposals for 12 sustainable transport corridors across the city. These include detailed drawings for bus priority along:
Dunkettle to city centre (via Lower Glanmire Road)
Mayfield to the city centre (via Old Youghal Road, Ballyhooly Road and Summer Hill)
Blackpool to the city centre
These will be subject to an initial public consultation until Friday, 9 September. The NTA have acknowledged that the design hasn't yet had the benefit of local input. They have committed to a dialog to refine the plan.
There will be two public information events for these and other nearby routes in the Silversprings Hotel:
Monday, 25 July, 2:00pm—7:00pm
Tuesday, 26 July, 9:00am—2:00pm
There will also be Community Forums established comprising of two representatives from each resident and community association along the routes, as well as stakeholder organisations and local public representatives.
The plans published in June are the NTA's "emerging preferred route". There will be a second round of consultation after this one with a revised "preferred route". That will probably be early next year.
Only after that will plans enter a final stage of consultation, which will probably be through An Bord Pleanála given the scale of the overall project. Actual construction is not foreseen until 2025—2030.
If you have any comments for me on these initial plans, I'm happy to receive them. The NTA also have a dedicated email address to answer questions on these routes, which is email@example.com.
City Development Plan
The new city development plan was agreed by Cork City Councillors this month. It includes many significant additions in terms of environmental and heritage protection, alongside the provision of housing and essential infrastructure.
Glen River Valley Park
A coalition of councillors was able to secure new protections for the Glen River valley from its source in Mayfield to where it enters the culvert system in Blackpool, including extending green areas and Landscape Preservation Zones.
An amendment to rezone a final parcel of land south of the Fox and Hounds in Ballyvolane from public open space passed by 16 votes to 14. However, this was among a set of zonings that had raised the concerns of the Office of the Planning Regulator. These concerns mean that the area may not be developed upon due to flood risk and environmental protections elsewhere in the development plan.
The securing of these areas along the river means the potential now to establish a new extended linear park following the course of the river from Mayfield to Blackpool.
Glenamought River Valley Park
Another significant addition was the addition of a new objective to establish a Glenamought River Valley Park. Inspired by the commitment of local residents, I was able to secure very special recognition of the Murphy’s Rock area in the new city development plan.
The area is now recognised as a key green and blue infrastructure asset. This new objective for the city will safeguard and enhance the area as a linear wildlife corridor and riverside amenity.
Development within the wider area will safeguard pedestrian access to the riverside, protect biodiversity and preserve this ecological and visually sensitive asset. I’m particularly glad that consideration will be given to existing historic, cultural and social landmarks and their integration into an enhanced future riverside park.
Heritage of Montenotte
A proposal to remove the Landscape Preservation Zone on Clifton Convalescence Home failed by 21 votes to 10. This means the Landscape Preservations Zone will remain on that property.
Unfortunately, and amendment to remove this protection from Hyde Park House was passed by a split vote, including an abstention, and the casting vote of the Lord Mayor.
I deliberately didn't speak on many amendments at this stage of the process because many councillors had decided their voting positions beforehand.
However, I chose to speak on these two proposals in particular and had been active before the meeting to try and turn opinions on them.
Hyde Park House
Despite the decision in the final vote, the Green Group on Cork City Council were able secure new objectives in the written text of the development plan. These include that:
"Cork City Council will have regard to Ministerial recommendations to the City Council to consider the designation of the buildings and gardens listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as Protected Structures. ... These Ministerial Recommendations will be taken into account when the Cork City Council is considering proposals for development that would affect the historic or architectural interest of these structures."
Hyde Park House and its associated structures has multiple entries in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. A portion of the property is also still designated in the development plan as having High Landscape Value.
These mean that any proposal to develop on the site will still have higher standards to meet for any proposed development.
There is also a commitment in the development plan too is that Cork City Council will undertake a City Landscape Strategy during the lifetime of the plan. This will be to ensure that the management of development throughout the city will have regard for the value of the landscape, its character, distinctiveness and sensitivity.
I will insist on Hyde Park House being included in the drafting of this strategy.
In the news...
Census highlights housing vacancy in Cork, says councillor
Preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the population of Cork City and Cork County increased by 7.1% in the six years ...
Councillors call out for biodiversity officers for Cork
Six biodiversity officers will be recruited to local authorities by the end of this year.
Cork City Council passes vote of no confidence in An Bord Pleanála
Several councillors also called for the board to be disbanded
Keep in touch
Thanks for reading! Please feel welcome to share this newsletter and invite others to subscribe.
Have a good month!