THE scourge of derelict buildings across West Cork towns is to be tackled by Cork County Council in a ‘pro-active’ manner.
Municipal District officer Clare Zuk told councillors at last week’s meeting of the West Cork Municipal District that the first thing they have been asked to do is look at the old derelict sites register, as some may no longer exist or others may have been improved.
‘We nearly have that process completed and once that’s done we can look at the core part of the towns and properties that fall in under the derelict sites legislation and we’ll be pro-actively trying to identify the owners of these properties,’ she said.
Councillors were told that the first real update on the derelict site register would be in April when Council officials would be contacting the owners of those derelict sites.
Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) welcomed the move because he felt that the Council seemed to have backed off in recent years and he pointed out that there is a onus on the Council to put pressure on property owners who have let their properties run into dereliction.
‘In Clonakilty, for example, we have an old bakery at the Casement Street/Connolly Street junction and anytime there’s a storm, you have slates falling from it onto the street and it’s a health hazard,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Cllr Hayes had previously raised a motion calling on the Council to buy the building, which was the former Linen Hall, saying it would make a fantastic public space for a theatre or community use.
However, it is believed that Cork County Council do not intend to purchase the building, which is still on the market.
He said he would like to see the Council being more ‘pro-active’ by asking owners to ensure all their buildings are safe.
Councillors were told that there is a ‘big focus’ this year on derelict sites and dangerous buildings and that every municipal district has been tasked with prioritising the issue of derelict sites over the next six to eight months.
Cllr Karen Coakley (FG), who previously raised a motion on this issue, said she is delighted to see that the derelict sites act will be implemented.
‘This will no doubt make a big difference to lots of Tidy Town groups, who found that their scores were being let down by these derelict buildings,’ said Cllr Coakley.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind), who also mentioned a derelict hotel in a village, not a town, said it was important that derelict buildings in villages should also be looked at and was told that the initial focus for now will be centred on the core towns of the municipal district.