A draft Cork City development plan published today has laid out the aim of building 20,000 homes and creating 31,000 jobs over the next six years.
It is hoped that the first development plan since the city had a boundary extension in 2019 will guide it towards ambitious population growth targets.
Under the Government's 'Ireland 2040' strategy, Cork is expected to see a population growth of 55 per cent — an additional 115,000 people.
The new plan aims to accommodate an additional 3,500 people in the city centre by 2028, a growth of 15 per cent from the Census 2012 baseline figure of 22,732. This is to be achieved by a combination of new builds and reuse of the city's existing built fabric.
Cork City Council chief executive, Ann Doherty, said that 'Our City, Our Future' is a transformative blueprint that will lead to the creation of a "15-minute city" where services and facilities are available in local neighbourhoods.
"A lot of Cork meets the concept of the 15-minute [city] already in terms of adjacency to service and the fact that employment is spread across the city. It is not just concentrated in one part of the city. We have a lot of the beginnings of the concept in place," she said.
"Transport will be key to making it work. Obviously having good public transport will influence how people live.
"It is not about having all the services on your doorstep. For example, you won't have an acute hospital in every 15-minute neighbourhood. It is about having real good connectivity in to the heart of the city."
This draft plan is being published at a time of unprecedented opportunity
Ms Doherty said the plan is the first local policy-based expression of the ambition for Cork contained in Project Ireland 2040 and the national planning framework.
“This draft plan is being published at a time of unprecedented opportunity. Cork City has up to €1.8 billion in ringfenced central Government funding and up to €3.5 billion earmarked for the city over 20 years, as part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS)," she said.
"There is a visible confidence in our city as evidenced by planned landmark projects such as the €46 million Grand Parade Quarter, which is going through public consultation at present, and the Cork City Docklands, a scheme of international significance that, as Ireland’s largest regeneration project, has already received €355 million from the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF)."
Meanwhile, Lord Mayor of Cork, councillor Colm Kelleher, has urged the public to engage with and provide feedback on the plan.
"It is imperative that every citizen in the city has the opportunity to have their say on the plan which will shape our city for years to come," he said.
"This is the first of three critically important city developments plans for Cork. It is the first of three such plans that will provide a pathway to achieving a 50 per cent increase in population by 2040 so that Cork grows as a city of international scale.
"This plan aims to ensure that as our population increases substantially, we become an even better place to live. It is centred around supporting housing, economic development, public realm renewal, transport, more amenity spaces and community services in existing built-up areas, using the internationally-recognised 15-minute city model."
It is imperative that every citizen in the city has the opportunity to have their say
Cllr Kelleher said that under the CMATS plan, which is a 20-year transport plan for Cork, light rail is proposed to go from Ballincollig in the county to Mahon in the city.
"For a 15-minute city we need state of art public transport to achieve that. The money promised by the Government to Cork for that is a massive investment," he added.
Eight weeks of public consultation on the new development plan commences today. Cork City Council is calling on residents, workers, the business sector, community, sporting and voluntary groups in the city and beyond to have their say on the 2022-2028 plan.