This week we are carrying the second of two reports into Cork County Council’s mammoth Draft Development Plan. It is a beast of a document. And we are only delving into the West Cork section of the seven-volume plan. The plan was prepared with regard to the ambitious population and employment targets set out in the National Planning Framework(NPF), the Southern Region Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) and government policy.
When finalised in April 2022, it will be the first of three county development plans that, when taken together, will set a clear pathway for the county. In layman’s language, this is the plan the Council will use to decide the future direction and growth of the county – how it will spend its money, where it would like to see schools and homes built, and where it will plan other updates to infrastructure and social improvements between now and 2028.
On the face of it, it is not a particularly overly-ambitious plan apart, perhaps, from its housing ambitions: it aims to enable ‘the orderly delivery’ of 29,300 housing units with supporting commercial and social services.
And, perhaps, in employment: it wants to deliver 36,500 jobs.
But ideas like more open spaces, better cycle and pedestrian routes, and a focus on tourism, environment, heritage and well-being, are not exactly ‘new thinking’. The most difficult aspect of the plan will be the financing of it.
In the post-pandemic years, all government agencies and public services are going to be fighting for a share of a much-reduced pot. Let’s hope whatever available money is provided is put to good and practical use.