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CORK CENTRAL AREA
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Dept. of Town Planning
DRAFT PLAN
September, 1978.
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CONTENTS
SUMMARY
1. INTRODUCTION
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2. EMPLOYMEN'T I
New establishments
Outflow of firms
Location of firms
3. POPULATION AND HOUSING
Housing loss
Changes in the composition of central area
population
Tanure changes
Physical distribution of housing
Conclusion
5. TRANSPORT
Traffic Control in the Central Area
Pedestrianisation
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4. PHYS ICAL FABRIC OF THE CENTRAL AREA
Vacant Floorspace
Conclusion
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Parking
6. OVERALL POLICIES
Land Use requirements 1976 - 91
Quantative Land Use Policy
Protection of lower value uses.
7. SHOPPING ANTI OFFICE DEVELOPME1NT
Future shopping reqUirements
Future office requirements
Land requirements
Renewal Function of core expansion
Environmental conditions/or high value uses
Office in areas
. Character of redevelopnent and renewal.
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8. PROTECTION OF LOWER VALUE USES
Policies to retain lower value uses
9. ROUS rxc POLICIES
Infill
R,ehabili tation
The role of environmental improvements
Policies to protect housing on upper floors
Summary. of recommendations
10. AMENITY
The Quays
11. LOCAL SUMMARY MAPS
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SUMMARY
This draft is intended as an overall plan for the central area, and
as a guide for policy decisions on the future use of particular parts of
the central area. It incorporates the general policy recommendations
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of the Land Uae Transportation Study and is based on data gathered in
surveys of the central area carried out in 1972 and 1977.
A number of important points emerge about' the future of the city
centre:
a) . While a snal.L increase in the amount of employment in the
city centre is likely to occur" this Will result from the
combination of a sharp rise in office type occupations, and a
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b)
sharp fall in industrial and other. manual empLoyment
The city centre population is declining rapidly and on present
trends Will fall to half its 1971 level by 1991.
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c ) The city centre has substantial amounts of vacant or under-uaed
land and vacant buildings. About 15% of the central area falls
into these categories.
The major problem detected was that the supply of central area
property exceeded demand for it, and that this was likely to continue.
This was because increased employment in white collar employment would use
up relatively little land relative to eXisting vacant sites and
lllildings, and sitasand 1:llildings likely to fall vacant as' a result
of loss of population and manual employment. As a result no progress
would be made towards reducing the amount of vacant land or buildings.
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The continuing existence of vacant buildings and derelict sites could
have the effect of discouraging such repair and renewal as would
otherwise be likely.
To cope with this problem the rate at which population and manual
employment is leaving the city centre should be reduced as far as
possible. _ One reason for the loss of both population and manual
employment which is identified is the tendency for speculative
assembly of sites and buildings for development for high value uses
such. as shops and offices. At present the supply of such property
is greatly in excess of what is likely to be required for a long
time; as a result there is a problem of long term derelict sites.
This occurs b e c a ~ e the value of land which might be used for
offices is often greater than the value of the same land in actual use
for housing or manufacturing.
To prevent excess supply of property for high value uses, a zoning
system was devised. The eXisting extent of the 'core' of high
value uses (offices and shopping) was determined from survey maerial,
and ample allowance was made for likely expansion of this core area
up to 1991. Land in excess of this was zoned either for general uses
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excluding shopping and offices, 0;' specifically for housing.'J This
should remove the motive for excess site assembly.
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The Corporation should also give further encouragement to firms
giving industrial or other manual employment. In some cases there
are opportunities to redevelop sites to meet modern industrial
requirements.
The Corporation should also designate certain areas as housing
protection areas. These would be viable or potentially viable housing
areas in which policies to conserve Corporation housing would be
concentrated. These policies would include a ban on substantial new
non-housing development. (in effect requiring vacant sites to be used
for housing). Other policies include:
1) . redevelopment of large sites by the Corporation as Corporation
housing;
2) acquisition under the derelict sites ao't of small vacant sites
which would then be resold to individualS wishing to build houses
for themselves;
3) rehabilitation of property worth improving through the relatively
cheap method of using a fund and
4) environmental improvements to streets to make ar-eas pleasanter
and thus encourage investment. These environmental improvements
should include removal of non access traffic in specified cases.
Policies to improve the tourist amenities of the central area were
outlined, in the expectation that substantial improvements to Cork
city current earnings of 10 million per year, and in the hope that
increased tourism might act as a catalyst to the improvements of areas
such as Shandon.
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mTRoDUCTION
The function of this paper is to provide a general plan for the
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central area of Cork City, along the generaJ.. ,lines set out in section 6
of the Land Use Transporation Plan. Its major preoccupations, namely
transport, the of city centre land resources and the
development of the city centres amenity potential, renect those of the
recommended Plan. As the Corporation carried out land use surveys
of the city centre in 1972/3 and in 1977, it has been possible to
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pr?posals on the basis of detailed and up-ta-date information
about the city centre.
The aer-riding point to be bourne in mind about the city centre
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is that it is the largest concentration of e,mployment in the Cork
area and according to the plan, is likely to remain so, being ab<ut
four times the size of any other employment centre in the Cork area.
A second point which should be emphasised is that the Vitality
of the central area is much greater thaJi might be supposed. Corporation
surveys show that 37% of all finns in the central area had set up in
present premises since 1970. This rate of change not
confined to sectors such as retailing, where. it might be expected,
but was :fairly evenly distriluted between sectors. Change in the
city centre naturally terds to be underestimated, because it is
less p1Jiysically obvious than new constructioo on green field sites.
The Central Area is thus economically of the first importance to
the Cork sub region, and an area of rapid change. The requirements of
businesses looated in the central area or likely to locate there in
the future IID.lSt be a dominant consideraticn in its planning.
About half the employment in the central area is in sectors such
as shopping, administrative and professional services, finance and
entertainment, where the pleasantness and convenience of the environment
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is a significant factor in attracting and retaining new businesses.
Since it is in these sectors that the growth potential of the central
area lies, it may be necessary to give more emphasis to these issues.
The centre of Cork is naturally the most visited part of the area,
so. that the image of Cork, for both visitors and residents will be
quite largely based on' their impressions ot the central area.
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Employment surveys were carried out in the central area in 1972 and 1977.
appears to have fallen by about 6.8% during this period, which in
view of the recession is perhaps not surprising. Comparative changes in
the numbers of' workers engaged 'in each type of' employment ID.aiY' be used
to detect long term trends. Table 2.1 gives'the relevant figures.
Table 2.1 Employment by industrial group, 1972 and 1977
26 not significant
2898 - 19
597 - 16
250
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1535 -
5576
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6,
1641

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2274
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1391 + 23
21.17 + 3
1221
- 16
304 3
0 not- significant
19804
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1972
AgriculiUre, Fishing
Mining 10
Manui'acturing 3585
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Building &Construction 711
Ut i lit i es 225 '
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Wholesale 1673
Retail 5.942
Finance 1519 .
Transpat 2428
Administration 1129
Professions 2051
Personal Services 1453
Entertainment 312
Not Stated 205
21243
1977 Change
The main i.n.ference to be draml from Table 2.1 is that the loss of jobs
from sectors in which manual employment predominates has been more rapid than
from the city centre as a whole; manui'a.cturing, building and construction
and wholesale aJ.J. have a higher rate of loss tilan average. Whita collar
occupations by contrast, have improved their position bdb. relatively and
absoluteJ..y.
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The figlres in this table and in the succeeding one are corrected to
ensure like is compared Wi. th like, as a result it has" been necessary to
scme employment because CIf non coverage or :incorrect classification of some
firms. Because of these adjustments, total employment figures di:f'feras
between Table 2.1 and 2.2, and in both cases is margiE:llal1y less than total
detected.
Comparison of the distribution of workers by 8Ocio economic groups for
1972 and 1977 tends to reinforce this picture.
Table 2.2 Employment b,y sccio economic groups and 1977
1977 %change
Employers, Managers, Professi.onals 3572 4027 +13
Clerical 4953 5307 + 7
Sales 4264 3220, -24
Sk:i.lled Manual 4444 4077 -8
Other Manual , 4023 3211 -21
21256 19842 -7
The extent to loss of sales workers in implausibly high and probably
conceals some classification differences by respondents.
In general the implied tendency towards growth of office type jobs
and decline of manuaJ. jobs is very much what one would- expect, an the basis
Q:f, bo th experience in other areas and the strong growth nationally of
. offic"e type employment. There is a little that such sectors -as
finance, professions, admiilistratian and probably retail will tend to grow
in the city centre, and that manufacturing, . building and construc'tdon, wholesale
and transport will tend to decline. These tendencies are unlikely to be
reserved by planning policy, but mEW well be strengthened or inhibi,ted by it.
New Establishments
From the point of view of planning policy the main focus of attention
is likely to be on f:i..rmS moving in or out of the Central Area, because a
Planning Authority is in a better position to affect these movements (and
well do so Without being conscious of the fact) than to affect the
fortunes of businesses once they are established in the area.
TaQle 2.3 gives details of firmS established at their present
address 1970-7.
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Table 2.3 Finns established at present address 1970-7
No. of Finns (% of total) No. of (% of
Employees total)
Manufacturi.I\g 37 (27) 342 (11 )
Building &Construction 22 (43) 197 (22 )
Wholesale
67 (46) 462 (35)
Retail 309 (33 ) 1130 (20)
Pinance 69 (54 ) 634 (39)
Transport 22 (27) 182 ( 8)
Administration 14 (32) 331 (20)
Professions 76 (40) 420 (17)
Personal Services 86 (40) 384 (31 )
Entertainment 19 (38)
t01 (35 )
Other 5 (11)
52 (19)
Total 726 (37) 4241 (20)
One -obvt.ous point which can be made is that the central area is,
despi te appearances, obviously anythiDg but static. Another inference is
that ~ view of the fact that a large anount 0 f enp'Loymeut has come into
We city, and that the total amount of employment. has not increased in the
ihterVal, a large anount of employment must also have been lost. . Table
2.4 provides estimates for such losses ald gains in the 1973-77 per Lod ,
Table 2.4 Composition of employment changes 1973-7
Employment in firms established
at present address 1973-7:
Net employment
change all
firms established
before 1,973
Manufacturing
Building &
Constroction
Utili ties
Wholesale
Retail
Pinance
Transport
Admini stration
Relocation of CA
f i.rms Vd. thin CA
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21
94
112
100
91
31
All other new
establishments
285
101
19
273
715
272
88
295
- 972
- 215
+ 6
- 411
-1141
- 29
- 242
- 33
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The sector in which new establishments are most conspiciously failing to
balance the outflow of jobs is in manufacturing, building and construction
and transport. In these cases the outi'low of jobs is about three times the
number of jobs created by new establishments" A similar situation prevails
'Rith regard to personal services. Other sectors are either actually gaining
jobs faster than they are losing them, or.at; aIJ3' rate show jobs in new
establiShments as a high proportion of jobs lost
. Outi'lQw of firms
'A' survey of 54 firms in suburban industrial. carried out early in 1978
showed that 43% of firms in these estates from the centre of
Cork. Table 2.5 summarizes the activities' of these firms and the use
of their former sites in ihe city centre subsequent to relocation
. 2.5 Firms moving from city centre to suburbs.
Present Use of Former Site
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Activity of Manufacture/ Offices Entertainment Vacant! Not Total
Finn dismbution Car Park known
Manufac turing 2 0 1 4 2
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distrib.1tion!
4 4
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storage
Offices ..0 1 0 1 0 2
Total 6 5 2 8 3 24
Some care is needed in the interpretation of these figures, as in
many cases the firm had relocated relatively recently. However the fac:t
that of the 22 premises vacated by manufacturing and other manual type firms,
only 6 were reoccupied by firms in similar activities, is highly suggestive.
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Clearly wbstantial amounts of property used for manual employment
are being converted to other uses. This poses the question of whether
this is due to simple insufficiency'of demand on the part of employers
in manual type activities or whether it is due to other factors.
Where respondents were able to give reasons for moving out of the
qity cerrtre the maj ority mentioned deficiencies in the city centre
sites, such as small and old The second most frequent
reason quoted was the of access, especially for large vehicles.
Respondents did not give weight to the positive aspects of suburban location.
Location of fiIins within the Central Area
Maps 2.1 and 2.2 indicate the distribution of floaspace
in four major industrial groups in the central area. By looking at the
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two maps -together, one can see that there is a predictable concentration
of retailing in Patrick Street and North Main Street and of office type
around South Mall and that gr-ouped around this core there is
.8. of manual type employment.
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The land use categories used in Maps 2.1 to 2.8 are as follows:
1) Manufacturing
2) Other Manual (s,e, Building & Construction, Utilities, Wholesale,
. Transport)
-3 ) ' Retail (excluding Pubs , garages, estate agents, advertising agents,
musical, paints and wallpapers, office equipment and T.V.
rental)
4) Office (i.e. Finance, government departments and local authorities,
Accountancy, law, engineering, architedure, , Professional
and research organisations etc.)
Maps 2.3 to 2.6 show the location of firms established at their present
address during the '-period 1970-77. ''Manual'':t'irms have shown a particularly
strong tendency to set up in the. areas around Bachelors Qu8i1, Leitrim
Street and MacCurtain Street. This m8i1 of course be attributable to a
large number of ' premises falling vacant in the areas in the period
cCIlsidered. By contrast, new establishments are fairly sparse in other
major"manuaJ!' areas, such as the east end of the island and the area around
Washington Street and South Main Street.
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MAP 2.1 .
. d other
f turing an
Maau ac loyment
'manual' emp

Uf act ur i ng
. ft , lion
20 000 sq. It ,
ft. othe;r ,
20,000 sq. 'manual
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MAP 2.4,
d
Once
bl she 11.
Firllls
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1970 - f
No. 0 9 :
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10 ~ 50
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If one compares map 2.5 With map 2.2, one can see that while new
establishments in the retail sector are concentrated in the eXisting
retail locations, the proportion of new establishments in the Patrick
Street area is much higher than the proportion of eXisting floorspace
as shown in map 2.2. This suggests that North Main Street ma.v be
declining in importance relative to Patrick Street.
Map 2.6 shows clearly \he continuing dominance of South Mall as
an office location.
Map 2.7 and 2.8 show the location of job gains and losses for
inanufacturing and other manual employment. From a comparison on Map
2.7 and Map 2.1 it is clear that manufacturing jobs have been lost
fairly evenly frClll the main areas of manufacturing activity, with the
exception of the Marsh and the eastern end of the island, where job
losses aXe surpris:ingly high and the Leitrim. Street area, which shows
significant job gains.
Ma:P 2.8 show that other manual industries recorded some job gains
at the eastern end of the city centre. The north of the island showed
substantial job losses.
Very broadly, the main processes which appear to he at work in the
central area can be swmnarised as follows. Office type uses are
expanding and are likely to continue to do so, While shopping employment
is fairly stable and may expand in the future. These uses are concenta-ated
in a central core broadly as depicted on Map 2.9. Outside this core there
is an outer ring in which manual type industries are dominant and in
general these industries seem to be suffering from significant job losses
which are likely to continue though the rate at which this occurs m ~
be affected by planning policy.
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POPULAT,ION AND HOUSING
Historically, the nain feature of the central area's population
has been its tendencey to decline. Table 3.1 gives the population
for the central area as given in the 1966 and 1971 Census, and estimates
for and 1991.
Table 3.1 Population trends in city centre
1966
1971
1976
1991
(est:i:mate )
(projection)
14028
11815
9899
7292
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rate of population loss was running at about per annum
between 1966 and 1971. In the central island, the population loss has
higher, as the population fall from 4279 in 1961' to 2649 in 1971,
. annual fall of 4.7%. In the absence of a census in 1976 it
is"difficult to. be exact about what has happened since, but ' the decrease
seems to have continued at roughly the same rate. The estimate:fbr 1991
is a relatively optimistic one, in that it"assumes that the annual rate
of decrease will fall from this observed rate of 3.4% to 2.c:f/o for the
1976-1991 period. If' the higher rate of loss persisted the population
. of the central area in 1991 would be about 5,900 or half' the 1971 :figure.
The projected reduction in the rate of Loas is based on the assumption
that policy measures to stabilise the central area population Will be
taken.
Map 3.1 indicates the population losses in central area wards in the
intercQnsal period 1966-71. While out of' date, these have
the advantage of dermnstr-at Lng , from an authoratitive source, that the
city centre population is capable of declining very rapidly indeed
Housing Loss
This loss of population appears to have been accompanied by a
qui te rapid loss of housing stock in the central area. Comparision
of the existing si tua:tion with old maps showed that no leas than 168
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PO'UL.ATION
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houses had been demolished in the .period 1950 - 76 in the part of the
central area south of the south channel. The total number of housing
units lost in Cork city. as a whole between 1961 and 1971 was about 3200
of which a very substantial proportion seems to have been from the central
area, in view of the sharp decline of the population there.
An.investigation of housing losses in the South Parish and on the
central island was carried out. (Map 3.1 indicates the wards Southgate
A and Centre A which were studied). Table 3.1 shows the number of
houses lost, i:n the period 1967 - 77, and their current condition or use.
Table 3.1 Houses lost in two Central Area Wards - 1967 - 77
It can be seen that empty or derelict housing represented a
major proportion of losses in both wards. Not surprisingly, changes
of use were more prevalent in the more Central ward. Changes of use
from housing to other uses requires special permission under the 1969
Housing Act; slightly over half these applications have been for changes
of use in the city centre, largely on the Central Island. However, it
should be emphasised that even in the more central ward changes of use
do not account for the majority of cases.
As there is obviously a link between the loss of housing and the
loss of population, it is tempting to ask whether the population is
declining because of loss of housing, or the housing falling vacant
because of loss of population. In foot, the question is misconceived;
the decline of both housing and population must be due to the fact that
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effective economic demand for housing is often inadequate to retain
housing in that use. This could either be because its value as housing
is less than:its value in .other uses, or as a cleared site Which might
be used for development, or it might be because its value is inadequate
even to cover essential repairs.
In this connection it is wor-th pointing out that the cost of usdng
central area property as housing mBiY be greater than elsewhere because
of the greater average age of the buildings, which is likely to make
it relatively II19re expensive to keep such buildings in repair., Table
3. 2 gives data from 1961 and 1971 censi of the age of housing units in
Cork city. The census uses the inhabi tants own estimate of the age of
the house they live in, and this is not alW8iY's very accurate, as is
eVident ~ r o m the discrepencies in the table.
Table 3.2 Age of buildings in Cork City and Sub.1rbs
- 1961 1971
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pre 1860 6051 2031
1860
- 99
5307 5937
1900 - 19 2072 2540
1919 - 39
4882 5408
1940 - 61 7689 7689
1961 + 6855

Leaving aside the obvious inconsistencies in responses, it is clear


that most houses lost were in the pre 1861 category. Housing in this
category is obvioUSly a much larger proportion of the total in the
city centre than elsewhere.
Changes in the comoostion of central area Dopulation
The future prospects of central area housing m8iY be affected by
certain changes in the composition of cen.tral area housing and population
which appear to have occurred since 1971. Information was derived
from the comparison of 1971 census data With material gathered in the
1977 Central area study.
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Table 3.3 shows that there has been a substantial :J,ncrease in the
proportion of persons aged between. 15 and 24 in the central area.
Table 3.3. Percentage distribution of population in the Central
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area by age group, 1971 and 1977
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1971 1977 City 1971
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% % %
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o -14 21 18 33
15 -24 19 25 17
25 -34 13 14 12
35 -44 9
10 11
45 -54 11 10 10
55 -64 12 10 8
65 '=t 15 13 9
100 100 100
:;Et can also be ssen that tIle proportioo of children and older
I people in the popu'Lataon have dropped Comparison with the
position of the oity as a: whole as shown by the 1971 census shows that
whereas in 1971 thecity centre's population contained a IID.1ch higher
proportion of old people than the city, this characteristic had become
less pronounced by 1977. The proportion of children in the city cedre,
was already very low relative to the rest of the city in 1971,
seems to have fallen further, while the proportion of young people is
now substantially higher than for the rest of the city.
Interestingly enough, analysis of the eight sub wards in the central
area showed that these shifts were broadly reflected in all but one of
them.
Tenure changes
Tenure changes were also exanrlned, and revealed a major shift
from unfurnished rented accommodation towards fUrnished accommodation,
as is shown in Table 3.4.
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Table 3.4 Percentage distri1::ution of ' central area hOusing, by
type of temU'e, 1971 and
Type of Tenure 1971 1977
'10 %
Iocal Authority 6 3
Private rented:
- 'lmfurnished 46 28
- furnished 6 23
Being acquired from local
authority 1 0
Owner occupied 39 44
Occupied rent free 2 3
100 100
trend towards conversion of housing into fUrnished fiats is
clearest in St. Iukes and City Hall area, as can be seen on Maps 3.2 and
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3.3.
The impact of this substantial shift in tenure pattem is diff'icult
to assess, but as incomes from furnished lett:i.ngs are generally substantially
larger than those from unfurnished lettings, the economic basis for repairs
and. improvements is likely to be improved. A second J!JJ3y be the
replacement of settled if declining communities with more transient
populations.
Pb,ysical. distributicn of housing
The physical distribution of houses in the centraJ. area is shown
on Map 3.4. Aj>art:from the north westem corner, there is very little
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housing left on the central island, but there are substantial. concentrations
of housing in the South parish, Shandon and St. Lukes areas. The physical
distribution is similar to that for manual employment and these are a
number of street blocks which contain both substantiaJ. manual employmwt
and substantial housing. Such blocks are shown on Map 3.5; the purpose
of recording them is that as such a juxtapositi.on of housdng and
industrial uses lead to environmental problems for the housing, no
for pressure for conversion of housing by f:i..rmS 1d.shing to tKpand.
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MAP 3.5
. . . ng
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t bloc s 1
Stree d manua
housing
employmen
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Conclusion
. The housing function of the central area has been under economic
'pres sure for a 10118 time, and this is a long drawn out process of oontraction.
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The eources of this economic pressure are probably to be sought in
terms of both s u p p ~ and demand problems, the s u p p ~ probleu:e arising
as a result of above average repair costs because of the large number
of older buildings and in Some cases also because at completion from
other uses. Demml problems resulting s i m p ~ . from the liIDi.ted
purohasing power of the eXisting or potentiaJ. central. area population
are also very probable.
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4
PHYSICAL FABRIC OF THE CENTRAL AREA
A number of rough indications of the condition of central area
buildings are available. A detailed survey of business premises carried
out in 1972/3 is summarised in Table 4.1
Table 4.1. General candi tion of business premises in the
central area, i972/3
Condition
Premises
%
Good 752 42
Fair 797 45
Delapidated 191 11
Derelict 14 1

Ruinous 6
Not classified 12 1
Total 1772 100
A much more superficial survey carried out recently, which included
housing as well as business premises, classified 530 buildings as being
delapidated or worse, out of a central area total of perhaps 3300
buildings. This would give a figure of about 16% of central area buildings
. iD; poor condition, as against about 13% of bJ.siness premises in the 1972/3
There are a number of vacant or underused sites in the city centre,
these are summarised in Table 4.2
Table 4.2 Vacant or underused land in the city centre, 1978
hectares
I, 'I
Parks
Derelict Sites
low intensity uses
9.60
'23
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MAP 4.4.
po cs' 1972/3 t Floors
Vocan r -
Floors f '
Uppe.r = 5000 sq. t.
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MAP 4.3
. . 1972/3
t floorspace
Vacan
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floors . 1
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The total area of 9.6 hectares represents about 6i% of the
total area of the city centre, less roads.
Map 4.1 shows the distribution of buildings in poor condition.
It shows that in general the eastern end of the city centre, and the area
around Patrick Street relatively few buildings in this category.
There appears to be concentration of tui1dings in poor condition off
Grand Parade and Washington Street, in the Shandon area and in the
South Parish.
Map 4.2 shows the distribJ.tion of vacant or underused sites. Many
of these are clustered on the fringes of the shopp:i..ng and office core
outlined in Map 2.9 and represent redevelopnent sites, while others result
from past acquisition of cleared areas for parking
The Survey showed that about 800,600 sq. feet of floorspace
in the central area was vacant. This represents about c:tJ, if total
floorspace detected, 48% of vacant floorspace was judged fit for business
use at the time of the survey.
About two thirds of the vacant floorspace was on upper floors. The
distribution of vacant floorspace on ground floors and upper floors is
shown in Maps 4.3 and 4.4 respectively. There was substantial vacant
f100rspace around Grand Parade (some of it in an area since cleared).
Vacant upper f100rspace was evident in the Grand Parade and Washington
Street areas, in an area at the east end of 01iver Plunkett Street and in
the south side of MacCurtain Street.
The amount of f100rspace on upper floors is significantly higher
than that on ground floors, as of upper floors were vacant, as
against of lower floors Traditionally the upper floors of business
. premises have been Widely used for housing purposes: according to the
1971 census 32% of central area households lived in tusiness premises.
Map 4.5 shows the distribution of such households as detected by the
survey: there is clearly a strong association between such housing and
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and shopping/commercial. streets at'the end of 'the central area. -
Shandon Street, Washington Street, North Main Street, Grand Parade ,
. Barrack Street. It is not clear whether vacated upper floor dwellings
are making a major conribution to the problem of upper floors, but this
creation or refurbishment of such dwellings would represent one of
solving it.
Conclusion
The amount of vacant property in the city centre is cumulatively substantial
and would require a considerable physicaL expansion of central area activities
to fill it. Its eXistence supplies the clue to 1.IDderstanding the poor
COl dition of some af the central areaa buildings, namely, insufficient
effectiY#e demand. This results :in insufficient funds being available to
maintain or replace all the buildings in ,the central area and hence leads
. to While the amount of demolition i1i th,e centre of Cork is
not very great by international standards, this is not a reason for
. ' .
accepting it or for assuming it Will not become more serious in the future.
It should be emphasised that building . condition is not the only
physical problem faced by the city centre. Due to its location, the city
centre has a large number of quBiY waLls and there are also culverted
. branches of the river under' some of the main streets. The Corporation is
also connnitted to the main drainage scheme J which should improve the citY
c enre environment considerably by removing sewage from the river. These
commitments involve major and unavoidable expenditure in the interests of
inaintaining the city centre in good physical and environmental condition;
in these cf.rcumsbences it makes sense to try to ensure that the actual
buildings of the central area support rather than connteract these efforts.
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TRANSPORT
The proposals of the Land U s ~ Transportation Study are likely to have
a major impact on the central area. The main features of the policy advocated
. by the study are as follows:
Firstly, additional road capacity is achieved by selective road arid
bridge construction. Secondly, an area traffic control system, designed
to ensure that traffic ig not allowed to enter the city centre faster than
the central road system is capable of coping with it, and tlms preventing
congestion in the city centre at peak hours; is r-ecommended, Thirdly,
some existing traffic routes are closed to general traffic, and replaced
by other routes, in order to ensure that eXisting pedestrian-vehicle
conflicts are reduced. The policy is summarised on Map 5.1
A number of road improvements are suggested for the city centre.
As V'6. th the other transport proposals, these have allotted to a number of
phases in order to indicate their relatiye priority. In Phase 1 it is
hoped. that a new bridge will be built linking Penr-oae Quay with Custom
HOuse Street and that the existing Merchants QuBiY' scheme should be
comp'Lebed; This should provide' a number of ilmne;diate benefits;the
circuitaus Merchants Quavr-I'l1acCurtain Street ioop could be eliminated and
the pressure on MacCurtain Street coold be greatly reduced and two wa;y
traffic re-introduced.
A gyratory Will be required in the City Hall area to acconnnodate
and distribute additional traffic from the Macroom and Passage line r-oads ,
In phase 11 .this Will be linked with the north bank of the river by
building a bridge between Custom House Street and Albert Quay. This
will complete a high capacity road system at the eastern end of the island
where the predominance of industrial uses should reduce environmental
conflicts. At the same time a new route linking Western Road with
Patrick's Bridge should be constructed via Grattan Street and Lavitt
l
s
_ Quay, which would replace Patrick Street as a traffic route. Patrick
Street. would then be pedestrianized, with only buses and access vehicles
being permitted. The Grattan Street-Lavitt's Quay route woold be linked
in to the eXisting road system by providing gyratory type systems using
Patrick's Bridge, Camden Quay, Lavitts Q u ~ and a new bridge by the Opera
House at the eastern end, and' usdng Vrashington Street, Court House Street,
Liberty Street and that part of the South Main Street north at Washington
Street at the west end. In Phase 3 this latter gyratory should b ~ linked
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in to a new route linkin.g Qua;y with Hanover Street. It is
envisaged this would be a one two lane route complementing a one
way South Main Street. Widening of the western end o:f Sullivans QuBiY
is likely to be necessary to allow it to revert to a two link
between Southgate Bridge and Georges Qu8iY.
final plan will involve a reversion to two w8iY working on
Parnell Place and South Mall. A new link between the Opera House
Bridge and Leitrim Street may also be required in order to avoid
the sharp tum at the junction of Camlen Qua.Y and Bridge
Traffic Control in the Central Area
An. essential feature of the traffic proposals is the implementation
of an area traffic control system for the central area. In the past
Cork has suffered acutely from ccngestion in the .central area, as a
result of the fact that at peak periods traffic 9an the city
cerrtz-e faster than the centre :Ls capable of cop.ing with. .The city
centre, of necessit,y coritains many light controlled junctions and
several gyratorys, which can under certain circumstanc es jam completely
and have on occasion done so. In order to eliminate congestion in the
central area it is necessary to ensure that the rate at which traffic
comes onto the cmtral area road system does not exceed its capacity.
To achieve this objective a central area traffic control systan is proposed,
which is designed to achieve this 0 bj ect by liniiting the amount of green
time allowed at key traffic lights to traffic entering the city centre.
A system of traffic detectors, linked to a central coraputer, should
provide a picture of traffic conditions at all times. If there is a
danger of the amount o:f traffic entering the city centre exceeding its
capacity, red periods at these traffic lights are lengthened accordingly
for incoming traffic.
In peak condations this Will create queues on incoming radial roads.
However, the overall amount of time required to make a journey is unlikely
to increase, all that V'rill happen is that the queues Will occur outside the
central area, where they are unlikely to cause major jams, rather than
inside the centraJ. area, Where they might well have that effect. A
further advantage is that the position of the queues is predictable under
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the proposed system, and as a result it is possible to'provide special
bus only routes which avoid the queues and iri ' effect allow roses to
operate in congestion free conditions.
In order to prevent people using minor streets to dodge these
queues, it is to provide a complete cordon around the central
area. On all main the cordon occurs at a light controlled
junctiOn from Which incoming trafficcan be queued. A number of minor
roads corssing the cordon are envisaged as "being used as bus priority
routes, but the remainder should either be closed or made on w83
outwards only'. Drivers can be pre-vented from usfng these priority routes
by the intelligent use of prohibited movement signs, bus activated traffic
lights (i.e. lights which show red except when a bus approaches) and, if
necessary, bus activated rising stop or arm barriers.
A complete external cordon should be prOVided as soon as possible,
complete with the appropriate bus priorities. The inner cordon will
. initially be a combination of the internal and external cordons recollII!lended
f 'or 'the final .plB..."l, 'I'd. th the Gi.Uabbey area initially falling within the
inner cordon. It should be possible to provide all bus routes entering
the city centre with priorities, except for the north west of the city,
which may have to wait until Phase 111
, Pedestrianisation
In Phase 1 pedestrianisation of several minor streets Which do
not have a major traffic functicn rot do have large pedestrian flows is
r'eoomnended, These are Castle Street, Winthrop Street and Oliver Pltmkett
Street (between Cook Street and Pembroke Street). Map 5.2 shows the
results of a short survey which confirmed the need for the pedestrianisation
of the latter two by shoWing that they had flows similar to those in
Princes Street (N) and nnich greater than those in the surroonding area.
In Phase 2 of the completion of the Grattan Street-Lavitts QuBiY
route should make it possible to pedestrianise Patrick Street, the
northern section of Grand Parade, and the,.nain streets off Patrick
Street i.e. AcaderrtY' Street, Daunt Square and Paul Street, Cook Street
and Marlborough Street. Though traffic should be excluded from North
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Main Street by the pedestrianisatiCBl of the southern end in Pbase 3.
These measures should create a substantial area in the centre
of the city where there is 1 i tt1e or no traffic t and where there is an
attractive and safe environment for people to shop and walk around.
,
fuses Will continue to use Patrick Street and North Main Street and
suitable provision for loading and unloading will be required.
A considerable amount of repaving, planting and street furnishing
is likely to be needed if an attractive and successful shopping
precinct is to be created.
Parking
The parking recommendations of the Land Use Transporation Study
are summarised in Table 5.1
Table 5.1 Summary of L.U.T.S. Parking 1976 - 1991
. -[
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Estimated 1976 spaces
Spaces lost proposed
highw<\y schemes and
pedestrianisatiCBl
Spaces gained tbrough
extension of disc area
Spaces provided in new
multi-storey car parks
Total
Spaces recommended by plan
for 1991
Surplus spaces
No. of spaces
5060
-600
500
1600
6560
5810
750
It can be seen that if all spaces existing in 1976 were retained,
then there would be more park:ing spaces than recommended in the plm.
It should also be pointed out that new parking spaces are being freated
all the time; for instance in the last few months additional parking
has been created off Merchants and Tuokey Street.

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The plan therefore implies the gradual removal of a number of
eXisting parking spaces; failure to do this is likely to throw
undue strain on the road network. In'subsequent sections suggestions
OIl how this might be done are advanced. The gradual redevelopnent
of' some sur:tace car parks is desirable. In some areas this should not
,
;be ditficult to achieve; pressure for other 'manual' uses in the
Marsh area shown in Map 2.4 suggests' this ,is one such area. This
also means that the Corporation can afford to take a relatively
senattive approach to the questions af parking in areas
(see Section 9) and parking areas of amenity potential., such as
Popes Qu83' (see Section 10)
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OVERALL POLICIES
The main featues of the central area are its density and complexity.
A very large amount of diverse economic activity, as well as a substantial
amcunt of housing, and an important transport function, is concentrated
into a relatively small area. In many cases a nwnber of different and
not very compatible uses are present in a single street block. To take
into account the requirements of all these different activities in a
difficult, though necessary task.
In predicting future changes vdthin the central area, a major
principle to be bovIne in mind 'i s the tendency for higher value uses
to displace Lower- vaJ.ue ones. As it is clear 'that significant expansion
of office and retail floorspace is likely, a realistic first step is to
allow for this.
Land Use Requirement s 1976 - 91
In view of the availability of population and -emp'Loymerrt estimates
'from'the Land Use Transportation' Study, it is possible to make rough
estimates of future land use demands. In these estimates it is assumed
that the floorspace per employee ratios established in the course of the
1972/3 Central Area Survey Will remain constant. EmploYment projections
are consiStent with those produced by the Study ~ o r the central area for
. 1 9 ~ 1 .
Table 6.1 summarises the results of this exercise for employment
'\lses.
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Table 6.1 Central Area Floorspace required for employment purposes,
1976 and 1991
. Industrial Groups 1976 1991
Employment Floorspace Employment Floorspace
Manufacturing 3,874 1,689,064 2,279 993,644
:ati.lding & Construction 1,017 268,691 2,080 549,536
Utilities &Transport 2,643 1,522,103 2,258 1,300,382
Wholesa],e 1,749 1,282,017 1,604 1,175,732
Retail 5,751 2,005,887 6,051 2,194,697
Finance/Admin./Prof. 6,748 1,618,170 9,858 2,363,948
Services 1,421 413,653 1,303 379,363
Entertainment 312 19.6,342 286 179,980
Other 218 113,578 200 104,200
Total 23,735* 9,189,505 25,919 9,241,422
~ * Includes areas additional to those covered in Section 2.
I1i can be seen that while there is a substantial .ris e in employment
in ihe city centre the floorspace requirement remains virtually the same.
The" reason for this is that the' manual, type users which are"geaerftily
I
declining are extensive users of space, wher-eas the expanding office and
retail sectors are not. It is clear that the sector from which major
employment ~ s can be expected is the office sector, whichlBs an
average floorspace per employee ratio of about 250 sq. feet, as compared
. \Vi th an average for all activities of about 400 sq. feet. As a result,
whether the detailed projections in Table 4.1 are correct or not, the
general pdnt is that in order to keep fioorspace requiranents, one needs
to gain substantially roore white collar jobs than have been lost in manual
type sectors.
A second, important point that is not reflected in the above
statistics, is the fact that site coverage is likely to be higher for
office development than for the manual type uses it m8i)T replace. This
means 1;hat in terms of land requirements, office uses should be much more
- 0 dense in employment term,s than the uses which tpeumay replace.
:r " .. " . ~ - ~ - .
A similar exercise was undertaken for central area housing, based
,
on the assumption that it would be possible to slow the r a ~ of loss
of population so as to meet the 1991 LUTS projection of 7,292. It
was assumed that the current ratio of rooms per person (which i8 quite
generous at about 1. 2 rooms per person) wou1d be maintailled, and that
floorspace per habitable room (as defined for census purposes) was
- 150 sq. feet. Table 6.2 shows the results.
,
Table 6.2 J!loorspace requirements for caltral area housing,
1976 and 1991 .
Population
Rooms
F100rspace
1976
9899
11652
1,747800
1991
7292
8584
1,287600
The implications of Table 6.1 and 6.2 and also the conclusions
reached in Section 4 on the amount of vacant land and vacan t floorspace
in tne city centre, are su.mnarised in Table 6.3. The assumption
1ll?-d:erlying Table 6.3 is that tqe total amount of floorspace in the
I central area wi.ll remain constant.
Table 6.3 Gross Floorspace requirements, 1976 and 1991 in sq. feet.
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Employment uses
Housing uses
Vacant blildings
Vacant Land
( ~ - % of previous three
categories)
1600 multi storey
parking spaces
Total
1976
9,189,505
1,747,800
793,000
762,430
12,492,735
1991
9,241,422
1,287,600
1,643,713
320,000
12,492,735
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It .can be seen that the total amount of floorspace required is
slightly less than at preserrtj as a resu.l,t the amount of vacant 1:.uilding
and land has gone up marginally. As a limited amount of land would be
required in the intervening period for road proposals, one might conclude
that the level of vacancy wCJ..tld be very similar to that obtaining to--d.a\r.
J
It is arguable that the assumptd.on that total floorspace Will remain
constant is Lnval.Ld, However while factors such as housing redevelopment
may tend to involve lower site coverage, and hence reduce total floorspace,
it is also true that office redevelopment would tend to have the
. effect.
It is aJ..so possible that more fioorspace per employee mBiY be required
by 1991 in some sectors. As against this the additional employment
envisaged in the L.U.T.S. draft report ID8iY not all materiaJ..ise, and
population may decline more rapidly than forseen, if current 'trends continue.
The conclusion whi.ch should be drawn from these considerations is that
at present there is substantial vacancy in the central area and an
curr-ent" indications this is likely to continue, though if corrective
action is tha7ught necessary it should not be so inflexible as to be
incapable of being reversed if trends alter.
Quantative Land Use Policy
From consideration of present trends and their implication in this
and previous chapters, it appears that the relationship between supply
of and demand for central area property is such that will continue to be
substantial vacant and underused property, and insufficiEnt finds will be
forthcoming to maintain all property in the central area in reascnable condition
and replace it where uneconomic. This can be expected to lead to dereliction,
which will probably be concentrated in pockets outside the central core.
This is likely to make the central area less attractive for almost aJ..l
activities, and in the case of sensitive uses such as hoosing these maur
be a danger that bad anditions mBiY discoorage rehabili tit ion and hasten the
loss of population, tills creating a vicious circle.
The obvioos method of trying to deal with this problem is to try to
stiIID.llate demand for centraJ.. area property to the point where it can make
use of all the property available. This would have the beneficial side
effect of making it mor-e eoonomfc to keep buildings in good condition and
would by definitian involve no re rapid r-edeve'l opnen t of cleared sites.
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Accordingly, the fonnation of a number of pr-otecteduae areas is
suggested. This would be enforced qy refusing permission Within the
area to pr'o poaal.a for the :htroduction or extensicn of uses other than
the protected use or uses. If buildings Within the area had to be
demolished due to poor condition, the effect of the policy would be to
require redevelopment in the protected use.' This should ensure that land
values remain broadly in !line with what is economic for that use. The
'protected' use would normally be the existing use, but existing vacant
uses could be zoned for a protect;ed use as well.
This policy is easily combined With other measures to improve conditions
for particulro:' uses, in so far as 1hese would operate on a local. basis.'
The commitment to the preservation of an area in a particular use might
qy itself have some psycholigicaJ.. value in encouraging investment in that
use.
TJ;1e remainder of this report is concerned with wQrking out the
implications of the two policies of protecting low value uses and aeektng
. '
to' provide suitable conditions for all uses ii:l the central area. Accordingly,
.
the remaining sectors deaJ.. with shopping and offices, menuaf employment
and housing, respectively. A section has also been included on the
general amenity and tourist potential at the central area.
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SHOPPING .AND OFFICE DEVELORr1ENT
7
This section has two objectives. Firstly, it is necessaxy to
ensure that the expansion of these high value uses are not inhibited
by the policy of creating protected areas for lower value uses
outlined- in the last section
l
Secondly, it is important to ensure
that conditions for the expansion of these uses exist in
other respects, in so far as these are within the Corporation's control.
Future Shopping Requirements
The Land Use Transportation Study estimates that the increase in
central area shopping floorspace between 1976 and 1991 wculd be in a
range between 28% and 41'/0. The higher of these two projections is
based on the assumption that the highly Shopping pattern
.at present will contirme, while the lower env.l sages some
decentralisation.
There are srme problems in deriving shopping projections because
of a conflict between the Census of Distributi.on and Corporation surveys
on the amount of shopping employment and floorspace in the central area.
The Study's figures are broadly based on the Census of Distributi on
figures. The Corporation surveys carried out that the central
area of Cork is even more dominant than the Census of Distribution figures
would suggest. Calculations based on this initial position and allowing
for a moderate relative decentralisation of shopping wculd give a growth
in floorspace of about 32%.
For general planning purposes it is reasonable to assume that
shopping floorspace will grCYN by one third between 1976 and 1991. A
higher figure would imply a very strongly shopping policy
all-owing very little room for expansion of suburban facilities. It will
in any case probably be necessary to limit shopping provision in suburban
locations in certain cases to ensure that the one third growth in central
area floorspace is achieved.
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Future office requirements
A review of survey and census data suggests that current office
employment in Cork City is about 5,500, of which about 4,700 are
employed in the actual area. It is expected that a very large
proportion of the increase in service sector employment will be in office
type employment. Office employment in the County Borough mEW increase
by !'lbout. 4,000 in the period 1976 - 1991, a rate of increase of about
3-%. This would be scmewha-fi higher than the average annual growth
in the office sector for the state as a whole in the_period 1961 - 71.
The location of this increase in offices is partly dependent on
Corporation policy, and in particular on what policy the Corporation
jursues on large scale suburban office deveLojment , In particular
there is a stong tendency towards office developnent detectable in
:Bishopstown.
In view of the evident need for high value uses capable of covering
costs, and of the limited suitability qf large offices for
otherwi se' largely residential areas, the Corporation should ensure that
of new offices are located in the centre. Of the
850,000 sq. ft. of office space which would appear to be required for the
period 1976 - .91, we might arbitrarily allocate 200,000 - 250,000 square
feet to suburban locations and the remainder to the city centre.
Larid requirements
About 1,150,000 sq. feet could be allocated for fUture office and
shopping space combined on this basis. If this was all accommodated on
cleared sites at a site coverage of 2.0 this would require 5.3 hectares,
or about 3% of the central area.
-- Perrnissions or proposals for the great majority of this requirement
already exist, and there are also substantial anounts of vacant floor
space. In addition there are a numbe r of areas which are very clearly
in need of renovation and renewal and which are unlikely to receive such
treatment tmless they are used for high value uses. The two areas which
are most clearly in this category are the area irmnediately to the south
of Patrick's Bridge, and the area around Washington Street and the west
of Grand Parade.
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Map' 7.1 outlines possible strategy for the growth of the area
covered by high value uses. The existing shopping and ofi'ice core
is shown as in Map 2.9 above; a number of potential developnent areas
on the fringes of this area are indicated. These would increase the
gross lam area of the core by roughly 40%. This coapares with an '-
increase in shopping and floorspace demand of about 45%. In other word s ,
relatively little reliance is placed on intensification of use within the
core , so that scope for expansion may be regarded as for
the period up to 1991. point is reinforced by the fact that the
figure of 45% additional floorspace is based on a relatively optimistic
overall economic assumptions, and on the assumption that Corporation
policy will be directed to ensure that a major part of new developnent
in ,the two sectorS will be located in the central area.
Renewal Function of Core Expansion
The expansion of the care has been directed to support redevelopnent
of .sites where a Corporation cammittment to such redevelopment has been
made, and to assist renewal of decayed areas where these are sufficiently
. , . ..
well placed for this to be a practical propositioiJ.. , Control of high
, value uses in other locations is if these objectives are to be
achieved, and thus applications for substantial new shopping or office
premiEs outside the expanded core suggested in Map 7.1 should be refused.
The largest area of expansion envisaged is in the area between
Grand Parade, South Main Street and Washington Street. This area is
currenUy in poor condition and unlikely to be revitalised by other uses.
Grand Parade, as one of the principal streets of Cork, has potential
which could be used to advantage. There is a . similar need for
revitalisation at the west end of MacCurtain Street, which is also will
'1 pl.aced because of its proximity to Street.
Environmental conditions for. hi gh value uses
Pleasant surroundings are a factor which affects locational
decisions by firms in these sectors. It is not an accident that the
main office location in Cork is South Mall, which is envirom.entally and
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architecturally a ver,y fine street, and this tendency for offices to
locate in pleasant or distinctive areas can be observed in m8.I\Y cities.
In a study of office relocation in Dublin, two thirds of fi.nns
responding mentioned suitability of environment as a reason for their
relocation. This factor was mentioned more frequently by respondents
than any other factor. (M. J. Bannon, Office location in Ireland:
The Role of Central Dublin p. 6r.cr).
As , a cansequency the appearance of a major street such as Grand
,
Parade or MacCurtain Street can have substantial effect on its economic
fortunes. As a result it is well worthwhile ?{idening pavements,
planting trees, tidying up car parking and reducing the doninance of
traffic. The implementation of the Land Use Transportation Study may
create some opportunities for this even on major. traffic routes; for
example, the reversion to two way working on MacCurtain Street should
make it possible to reduce roadwid th to two lanes, allow more parking
some crossings and possibly some tree planting. Likewise,
the junction of Washington Street and Grand Parade will cease to be a
ljlajor junction with the closure of Patrick Street, w:j. th the resu.l t that it
will .no longer be necessary to have a large number of lanes on all
approaches to the junction for capacity r-eaeons j thus creating a little
extra space within which environmental improvements might become possible.
In the case of shoppillg, pro:tection fran'the intrusive effects of
traffic are even more important. This problem is, however, fairly
comprehensively dealt with by the recommendations of the Land Use
Transportation Study.
Office Development in Sho pping Areas
In the past the Corporation has followed a policy of seeking to
prevent office uses from locating ih the area between Patrick Street and
Oliver Plunkett Street. The justification fro this policy is that
while office uses are frequently able to outbid retail uses, their motive
for doing so is to take advantage of the large numbers of shoppers in
Patrick Street. If carried far enough, this movement would obviously
became self defeating, as the number of shops in Patrick Street would
fall and the anount of shoppers would be reduced. There is a good case
for continuing this policy, and for monitoring its effectiveness.
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Character of Redevelopment and R ~ e ~ ~ .
In general redevelopment should be accormnodated broadly With.:in
the eXisting building pattern because this is more likely to produce
a building which is compatible with its neighbours and less likely
to produce large sites "tlic.h are derelict for long periods.
Redevelopment proposals exist for the r.edevelopment of the
Clare Investments site off Merchants QUI3, for the Trux site off
Lavitts Q u ~ " and for the English market on Grand Parade. The
market requires reconstruction because of structural problems in the
roof. The Corporation is co-operating with Clare Investments in
order to secure the Widening of Merchants QUI3, and is also negotiating
With Ttu.x on the possible provision of a multi-storey car park OD.
this site.
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THE PROTECTION OF LOWER VALUE USES
The strategy outlined in the previous two sections consi sted in
to limit the area in which major new shopping or office
developments could take plade, in order to safeguard the future of
lower value uses, and to prevent ,t he accumulation of vacant or
derelict property. This limitation is given effect in the present
section, by the provision of a number of zoned areas immediately
outside the suggested office and shopping core, in which significant
new shopping or office deve Lojmen t a would not be permitted.
Map 8.1 ShONS how this zoning wouLd work. Three types of' zoned
areas are suggested ; their implications are as follows:.,.
.(a) General employment and residential uses , excluding shops and offices
This zoning category in effect allows for any use apart fran new
'offices or development '. Existing office 'or
.
shopping premises would not be affected. The restriction of new
shopping development would not affect new individual shops
catering for the needs of local residents
.
. Certain portions of these zones are additionally zoned as
(b) Housing protection areas.
Their function is to indicate that buildings or sites which are
currently used or were last used as housing should not be allowed
to be used for other purposes, that cleared sites in the area
should be redeveloped for bousing, and that the Corporation will
seek to carry out environmental improvements and to minimise
traffic nuisance. A more detailed exposition of this policy and
of its implications far particular areas is given in the succeeding
section.
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POLICIES TO RETAIN MANUAL EMPWYMENT
Policies to retain lower value uses
In order to encourage firms outside the shopping and office
sectors.to remain in the city centre, it is necessary to do more
,
than prevent the property market from converting their premises to
other uses.
According to the survey of firms relocating in suburban industrial
estates quoted earlier, the main reasons for moving out of the centre
were related to the difficulty of expanding, problems of access for
large vehicles, and unsuitabilit,y of old premises for modern uses.
Where.opportunities arise for resolving these structural
problems they should be taken. There are a number of large sites
outside the shopping and office core which could be redeveloped in such
a way as to provide premises suitable for modern n e ~ d s , and the
Corpo.ration should encourage and coordinate private developers. in this.
In certain instances sites <?WI1ed by the Corporat-.ion may be suitable for
treating in this way. A further point is t h ~ t the implementation of
the road proposals of the Land Use Transportation Study will provide
greatly ' impr oved access to certain areas. A good example of a site
which is suitable for such redevelopment from both these points of view
is the former Bandon railw8\Y yard off Albert Quay.
This type of policy should gradually increase the proportion of
premises capahle of fulfilling the needs of firms with relatively
exacting requirements. In other cases, the adaptabilit,y of premises
could be increased by minor parking and traffic changes designed to
ease the problems of firms, particularly those with large labour forces.
The Corporation is itslelf a substantial landowner in the city centre,
and may in sane cases be in a position to facilitate expansion I
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This policy is designed both to retain existing !inns I and to
attract new ones to the city centre. It wouid be idle to pretend
that such a policy is going to do more than retard the rate sf which
the city centre loses mamraf type employment, but this is all that is
required of it. Obviously it is necessary at the same time to avoid
~ s U i n g policies which make the achievement at: this goal more
difficult; for instance it is undesirable for the Corporation to
encourage inns to move out to suburban estates unless there is a
good reason for it, such as a planned expansion of employment whiCh
could not be realised in the city centre.
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ROUS ING POLICIES
Housing policy within the central area will be largely concentrated
on the housing protection areas outlined in Map 8.1. A major element
in the concept of housing protecticn areas is the protectiCll of these
areas from the economic' pressure of other uses. This to ensure that
houafng is not lost iD other uses, that property ownere do not act on
the assumption that their property will ~ converted to other uses, and
hence neglect to maintain it and that land values are based on housing
values and are thus not so high as to make housing redevelopment
prohibitively expensive.
While it is important tat housing is not 'outbid' as a use by other
uses in housing protection areas, t h i ~ m u not be sufficient by itself.
It is also necessa.ry to ensure that enough is spent on the maintenance
and. replacement of housing in these areas to being .them up to a
reasonable ccndition and it is clear in many cases that housing is
being lost because of the lack of such expenditure, rather than because
of the pressure of other uses.
Physically there are three distinct types of measures which are
required to remedy this situation. These are:
. 1) the provision of infill housing on subetantial cleared sites
2) the pr'ovds Lon of infill houaing on small derelict lots
3) the rehabilitation of housing which is worth retaining.
In:fill Housing
In:fill on substantial cleared sites usually presents fewest
design problems. In general cleared sites occur in areas where
speculative private housing development is unlikely, so their
development tends to De carried out by the Corporation or char!table
bodies. The Corporation has completed a number of such schemes in
the past and there seema to be a good case for it continuing to do so.
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The provision of infill housing on small sites raises more
problerns as public housing is basically geared to the provision of'
. s t ~ d a r d i s e d housing in substantial quantities, and on a small and
difficult site it may r e ~ t in housing which is neither very suitable
nor very economic. An alternative possibility in the case of small
sites is to ..sell the site to a private individual to b.rlld a one-off
dwelling on. Demand:for such sites is rather better than one would
expect. In fact at present the supply of suitable sites in Corporation
ownership appears indadequate to potential demand.
However, potential buyers are o:ften discouraged by the fact that
the ownership of derelict sites may be difficult to ascertain and the
owner may not be willing to sell. To get ramd this problem it is
desirable that the Corporation acquire such sites wherever possible.
. The Corporation acquires sites quite frequently Under the Derelict Sites
Act. A gener-al, policy of acquisition and re'sale of' small vacszrt sites
either under the Act or 'b,y other methods should be followed.
Rehabili tatioo
The third element under this analysis is the rehabilitation of
eXisting hooses where this is worthwhile. The eXisting incentives
for such rehabilitation are primarily improvement grants, and, in the
case of landlords, the possibility of getting repairs . set against income
from the property for tax purposes.
These measures are probably more effective at encouraging minor
improvements to properties which are :al.ready in reasonable ccndition
than major renovations to properties in poor condition: this is not
surprising in view of the relatively low level of the grants. As,
however, the levelof' improvement grants is controlled by central
Government, there is 11ttle the Corporation can do in th1s respect,
except to point out to Central Government that there is a case :for
allOWing a higher level of improvement grants in the inner areas of
large cities.
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The role of enviroIlIOOntal improvementps
The methods of strengthening the housing content of housing
protection areas discussed so far have been 'direct', that is they
involve interventicn by the Corporation in the housing market. There
is in additicn a complementary set of 'indirect' measures which might
be used, based an environmental improvements. The object of these
is to make a housing area more pleasant to'live in, so that people
will be prepared to pa,y more to live there and it will become possible
to spend more on housing in the area.
The Corporation exercises a considerable degree of centrol over
the appearance of an area by virtue of being the highw8i1 authority.
This cOntrol could be used to improve the appearance of housing
protection areas through such measures as repaYing and tree planting.
traffic can be prevented by the closure o:f roads. Secticns
. 'of road which are not fulfilling either an access or a traffic function
'couid be used tor recreational purposes.
The appearance of residential streets is often seriously affected
by excessive numbers of parked vehicles. If a formula could be worked
out Whereby on-street parking in housing protection areas is largely
conf'Lned to residents this would help. In this connection, it is
very important that a residents parking scheme be devised to ensure
that the disc scheme does not have the effect of preventing city
centre residents from parking near their own homes, as this would
tend to reduce the value of housing and so accelerate
Policies to protect housigg on upper floors
It is desirable to retain residents on the upper floors of
busfnese premises for a number of reascns, of which perhaps the most
important is that if the upper floors of rosiness premises are vacant
it is:fhr more likely that minor rot essential repairs, particularly
to the roof of the l:uilding, will not be undertaken, and as a consequence
the wilding may deteriorate more rapidly than it would otherwise.
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The Corporation could provide some encouragement to rehabilitation
by waiving contribJ.tions which would otherwise be required, in the case
of thorough going renovation to a hOUBe in poor condition within a
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housing protection area. This proposal would only cost the Corporation
money if it were ef:fective, and would be a sm,all rot worthwhile step
.An effectiv.e but novel approach would be to use a revolving fund"
A revolving fund involves the operating body in the purchace , rehabilitation
and resale of property. I:f the major objective is simply to conserve
eXisting housing, then a revolving fund is an extremely efficient method
of dodng jso , much more so than the alternative method of bJ.ying and
retaining rehabilitated housing. This is because the proceeds of
each sale are ploughed back into the next property., so that with
funds adequate for the purchase and rehabilitation of 'one house one
" m . ~ . succeed in rehabilitating siX to eight houses over a ten year
period. A number of such funds have been operated in England, where
they have been directed large.ly at the preservation of ancient buildings.
In fuvourable conditions these funds have made substantial profits
(ABS Dick 'The Preservation of Ancient Buildings by RevolVing Funds",
The Planner, May 1978) but it should be remembered that even Where
they make a loss they will still process more units than conventional
purchase and rehabilitation methods not involving resale.
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It is difficult for the Corporation to take effective action to
prevent this happening. Its main power in this fieId is based on
the fact that pennission is required to close a habitable dwelli..ng and
if permission is given a cc:n:1tiwtion be required. This acts as
,
a confzro'l, on changes of use, but not on upper floor housing simply
being allowed to fall vacant.
However the 9Pportunities represented by the pedestrianisation of
the shopping streets recommended b.1 the Laqd Use Transportation
should be used. At present, most of these streets suffer from traffic
noise; if they were pedestrianised they would become much pleasanter
to live and over a time this should come to be reflected in
the economic value of the housing. It \\t)uld be worthwhile for the
Corporation to draw the attention of property owner-a in strats being
. pedestrianised to this point. The use of publicity to promote private
.i.p.ve s tment in housing protectd.on areas by d:rawing attention to
Corporation commitments would also be
Summasr of Recommendations
Measures to conserve housing in protection areas ahoul.d tbuIJ include
zoning reguMiions preventing change of use from housing;
redevelopment of large cleared Sites by the Corporation
Purchase and resale by the Corporation of small plots to individuals
for housing purposes;
the establishment of a revolving fund for rehabilitation purposes;
contributions should be waived in respect of thorough restoration ot
poor housing
various environmental improvements should be undertaken
traffic nuisance should be minimised.
The local implications of measures (b), (f) and (g) are indicated in
the local summaries in section 11. The Corporation should draw the
attention of property owners to the potential of upper floor dwell:ings
for improvement as shopping streets are pedestrianised.
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(0) Areas of amenity potential.
This zoning category is not related to either of the above, and
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indicates that the area designated has potential for developnent
as amenity, recreational or tourist puz-poaes , and that the
Corporation will take account of this when considering planning
applications, both in ~ s p e c t of uses which might develop thi's
potential, such as pubs and ,restaurants, and also in respect of
unsightly uses which might adversely affect it. A more detailed
exposition of this policy and of its implications for particular
areas in giyen in section 10.
AMENITY
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_. It is estimated that earnings from tourian in Cork city amcunted
to about .10 millfon in 1977 :._ .1 },p Cork possesses both
an a.:f.rport and a ferryport, am is only a short drive fran the Killarney
area, there is every reason to suppose that a detennined attempt to
develop the tourist potential of Cork cit,y would produce major benefits.
]'rom the point of view of the Visitor, Cork has a mnnber of places
of interest, but they are not particularly easy to find and little is
done to encourage the visitor to linger in their vicini t,y. The major
attractions in the city centre which most readily ?8n be utilised are
1. 'lhe historic buildings surrounding St. Anne ! s, Shand on
2. The historic buildings surrounding St. Finbarr's Cathedral
3. The central Area quays.
A policy to develop the potential of these attractions could be
based on ilie following measures
a) ' Restoration of historic buildings in poor condLtions.
b) Improved am distinctive. signposts used to create specific
pedestrian and vehicular routes for tourists, and provision of
expla.nato:ry plaques on historic huild:ings where absent.
c) General environmental improvements and reduction of traffic nuisance.
d) of tourist related uses in the innnediate area of the
historic but.Ldtngs , Planning control should be exercised in such
a as to discourage uses which are sericusly unsightly in these
areas.
In pursuiDg this type of policy, the overriding consideration should
be for the Corporation to concentrat.e what resources are available on the
first three measures in the hope that coherent action on these lines
will increase the number of visitors and act as a catalyst to private
developnent of tourist facili, ties and to a gradual upgrading of the
and environmental condition of the surrounding area as a
consequence.
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It is suggested that a programme of action be prepared for each
of these three area, with desirable expenditures listed in order of
pri-ority. A carefully thought aut programme of this type would be
necessary if funds for desirable measures beyond the Corporation's
current financial capability were to be sought.
Proposals for the Shandon and Gillabbey areas are included in the local
sunmary maps in Section 11.
The Quays
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:Because of its island situation, Cork has an impressive length of
river frontage. However, much of this is required for traffic puz-poaes ,
which .are -not very :compatible with amenity purpoaee , However, a series
-- ---of' q U ~ s ~ > n the north channel, Lnc.Iuding Pope's Qua.-r, ' 23achelors W u ~ and
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Grenville Place, are not required for traffic plrJ20ses and could be
developed to make the most of- their amenity potential. The main
measures required would be pavement Widening, tree plantiIJg, and the
removal of non access traffic. A linear walk tram Camden Qua.-r to
. Prospect Row could be provided, which would lead on to the Mardyke.
LOCAL SUMMARY MAPS
KE Y
L.U.T.S. Transport Proposals
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Main traffic routes
Bus priority routes
streets
Bus/pedestrian streets

proprity route
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Housil:Jg Proposals
Housing protection areas
InfiJ.1 sites suitable for Corporation housing
Roads on which traffic should be minimised
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I Possible sites for new manual employment
Possible sites for new manual
Possible sites for new manual
Amenity Proposals
Building of major tourist interest
Building of tourist interest suitable for
conversion to tourist oriented uses
Riverside walk.
Possible site for multi-storey car
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for Marsh area
see Map 11.2
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For Shlllldoll area
eee J4ep 11.3
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