The Irish Examiner reported on 24 January that a motion has been passed regarding the planned new town at Monard, County Cork. The motion calls for the council to fast-track construction and for the public sector to lead development. This motion follows a public campaign by People Before Profit (PBP) in Cork. Cork PBP welcome the motion which was passed by Cork County Council to fast-track the development of the new town in Monard and to develop the housing through the local authority, rather than through private development.
In December 2016, a number of councillors on Cork County Council (including councillor Des O’Grady, who raised the motion) were sent the PBP campaign brief on the Monard Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) with a request to support the campaign for the public sector to take the lead the development of housing in the new town.
On 13 January, Cork PBP made a submission to the Cork County Development Plan, arguing that the goals for housing in the town (1,727 houses by 2022) would not be achieved if development was left to the public sector. The submission argued that the Council should take ownership of the land and on which to publicly develop the planned housing.
While we welcome the motion from Cork County Council, PBP calls for any fast-tracking of the project to consider the following:
- Fast-tracking should not be used as a vehicle to distribute more subsidies to property developers or building contractors to construct the required housing at Monard. Funding for the town should not be siphoned off into private profits;
- Infrastructure for the town should be provided as a priority and should be planned and delivered simultaneously to the housing. This includes public investment in jobs, amenities, schools and healthcare;
- Transport infrastructure such as the proposed railway station and Cork Northern Ring road should be prioritised in order to ensure that the town to grow in a sustainable manner with access to nearby towns as well as Cork City.
Development of housing in Ireland cannot be left to the private sector. The last decade in Ireland has shown the crisis that a country can be left in after housing provision is led by the private sector. In order to develop sustainable communities, affordable housing needs to be developed by public bodies. We will continue to campaign for projects such as Monard to be developed publicly using the various mechanisms available to local authorities. If you would like to join our campaign or contact us, please get in touch.