Tuesday, 4 December 2012
To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on the regeneration of Knocknaheaney, Cork, including what is currently under construction and what has been completed; the number of families that have been rehoused; and the timeframe for completion. [54247/12]
The redevelopment of Knocknaheeney Block D, which comprised the comprehensive refurbishment of some 80 dwellings, the provision of new infill units, sheltered housing and the provision of community facilities, was completed over the past two years with substantial financial support from my Department. In light of the experience at Knocknaheeney Block D and the fact that over ten years had elapsed since the development of the original regeneration masterplan for the Knocknaheeney area, my Department instructed Cork City Council to undertake a review of the plan to ensure that it continued to be relevant and fit for purpose. This review was completed in 2011. The revised plan, which now covers a wider area including Hollyhill, was re-branded as the Cork City North West Regeneration Masterplan. This presents a much broader view, beyond a simple upgrading of the housing stock, to address underlying issues of social exclusion and socio-economic disadvantage. Issues such as connectivity and permeability, investment and employment have also been explored. Wide-ranging schemes of demolition and rebuilding, public realm upgrades including addressing areas of anti-social behaviour, and significant investment in social regeneration activities are all proposed. While my Department is satisfied with the broad thrust of the regeneration masterplan, it will be liaising with the city council on an ongoing basis to prioritise individual schemes for inclusion in annual work programmes.
Under the National Regeneration Programme, Cork City Council received an allocation of €12 million in 2012 in respect of its proposed programme of works which included completion of the works at Ard Sionnach housing estate as replacement social housing stock for units to be demolished as part of the regeneration programme, strategic demolitions and various estate and public realm works such as the closure of Hollyhill Lane, temporary refurbishments to houses and refurbishment of McSwiney Sports Hall. Phase 1 of a five-phase demolition programme has commenced with the relocation of 68 families, the majority of whom have transferred to nearby Ard Sionnach housing estate. I understand that demolition works will commence shortly. Work is also progressing on the other initiatives included in the 2012 work programme.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House.
Projected levels of activity in 2013 will be subject to the financial provision for housing, which will be determined in the context of the 2013 Estimates process. Having regard to the scope and extent of the overall proposed regeneration in Cork city and the potential availability of Exchequer funding in the coming years, it is not possible to indicate a timeframe for the completion of all elements of the masterplan.
There has been funding put forward in the regeneration for Knocknaheeney and the Glen, but the rest of the regeneration is important. Although it has not been mentioned in the past in terms of funding, I hope further regeneration in the Cork area will be looked at, that there will be a clear timetable in terms of how that is laid out and, according to the plan the Minister of State mentioned, this will be put in place over a period of time.
I have a fear that residents are being moved out of the estate into other housing and as Christmas approaches, they are sitting in uncertainty. Many have even bought furniture and household goods in anticipation of their move. We need to give them greater clarity and commitment as to when it will take place and how long it will take.
I visited the programme earlier this year and I felt that it was going well. It is working, residents are moving out to allow for demolition and they are staying within their own communities, etc. I felt that there was a positive response in Cork to it.
We will be allocating further funding next year and the year after to ensure that we continue with the programme. I have an element of detail for which we probably do not have time today, but it is proceeding in accordance with the plan. As Deputy Ellis will be aware, Cork City Council is also active in terms of moving on the socioeconomic side of it which was not part of the original plan.