Monday 18 December 2017

Cork 2050 - planning for a brighter future

Submission seeks to place Cork as a key driver of regional growth

A map of the proposals contained within Cork 2050 relating to the local transport infrastructure
A map of the proposals contained within Cork 2050 relating to the local transport infrastructure

Bill Browne

A comprehensive strategy drawn up jointly by Cork City and County Council's has predicted that with the right infrastructure in place Cork is capable of creating up to 120,000 new jobs by the year 2050.

Entitled 'Cork 2050 - Delivering a Bright Future for Cork', the submission  to the National Planning Framework (NPF), is a 'whole of Cork' proposition laying out an evidence based strategy for maximising the "unique capacity" of Cork to compliment the capital. 

The submissions contests that the whole of Cork approach will maximise the resource that is metropolitan Cork and Cork City, county towns, villages, rural areas and islands by "building on strengths and addressing issues holdings places back." 

It provides a strategic roadmap for the future, taking into account a variety of socio-economic issues including health and well-being, community and place-making, population growth, environmental stewardship and long-term sustainability. 

Specific issues addressed within the document include significant upgrading of Cork's transport network, the implementation of strategic road projects, the development of the City Docks and Tivoli areas, the roll-out of high quality broadband across urban and rural areas and the efficient use of available land. 

"Cork 2050 also positions Cork as a driver of growth internationally on behalf of the State and will deliver balanced regional growth through collaborative leadership," read the submission. 

"The strategy seeks to maximise the opportunities and address the Challenges Ireland will face over the coming decades as detailed in the NPF Issues and Choices paper."

In a joint statement the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill and the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Seamus McGrath welcomed the initiative. 

"On behalf of our colleagues, the elected members of Cork County and City Councils and all the people we serve, we are delighted to support this 'whole of Cork ' integrated approach," read the statement.

"This collaboration on economic, land use and transportation planning will shape the future of our city, our county, the region and State in the coming decades."

Both mayors requested that communities and stakeholders across Cork work to help ensure that "Cork, its people and its assets will deliver on its unique potential on behalf of Cork, the southern region and the State."

County Council chief executive Tim Lucy described the Cork 2050 submission as being "ambitious but realistic". 

"It reflects the unique capacity of all of Cork-metropolitan Cork, Cork City and County. The approach is delivery focused and is grounded on the principles of equity and sustainability," said Mr Lucey. 

"Cork 2050 will, with the appropriate policy support and investment prioritisation at a national level, deliver a better future for all," he added.  The chief executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty, was equally optimistic about the initiative. "Cork 2025 will provide a solid foundation with which to attract both the investment and talented people on which Cork's sustainable development and resilience depends," said Ms Doherty. 

"These growth opportunities will also require new thinking, not least in how to cater for the needs of both our existing and new communities," added Ms Doherty


Core tenets of Cork 2050 submission

The Cork 'differential' is available capacity at a 'critical time nationally' - to relieve pressure on Dublin and drive growth in the Southern Region.

Cork is today the best location nationally capable of:

  • Achieving a critical mass within the Metropolitan area with in excess of 500,000 people by 2050.
  • Creating up to 120,000 jobs over the next 33 years.
  • Supporting high capacity public transport corridors of a scale that underpins high levels of sustainable economic and population growth (87% of the Metropolitan population living within 1km of High Capacity Public Transport).
  • Facilitating growth through significant existing infra-structure capacity supplemented by committed up-grades and a programme of investment up to 2050 (including water, power, transport, ICT).

The Submission provides an evidence base for seeking the following:

National Policy support for:

  • Population growth at an escalated level to avoid business as usual with 850,000 people by 2050. A Metropolitan area of over 500,000 with a vibrant city at its core.
  • Cork's highly productive, diverse, adaptable and strong economy which retains high levels of inward investment and fosters strong growth in indigenous industry.

Designation of Cork as:

  • A complementary location to Dublin with strong International connections.
  • The driver of economic and population growth in the Southern Region.

Policy commitment and Investment in the required infrastructure to support growth to include inter alia:

  • Rapid Transit Corridor (RTC), running from Ballincollig town to Docklands and Mahon via the City Centre.
  • Commuter Rail network with through running at Kent Station between the Mallow and Midleton lines. Interchange between rail and the RTC and electrification of the rail network serving Mallow, Monard, Midleton and Cobh.
  • A high capacity Core Bus Network serving all of the main corridors within the Cork Metropolitan area including Cork Airport and connecting with inter-city and rural transport services.
  • Strategic road infrastructure required to drive balanced regional economic growth and local assets to include the Port at Ringaskiddy.
  • Enabling works and measures to realise the development of the City Docks and Tivoli.
  • Rapid roll out of high quality broadband across the region to penetrate all urban and rural areas.
  • Continued investment in water management and renewable energy.


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