1.1 Introduction 

Cork City has the people and the ambition to achieve its full potential: to continue to grow and develop as a great place to live and work. Cork City Council is preparing a new City Development Plan that will set out the priorities for the city for a 6-year period from 2022 to 2028. As part of the process, we want to hear your insights on the key issues facing the city. An extensive period of consultation is getting underway which will culminate in the adoption by Cork City Council of a plan that will provide a framework for how Cork will develop in a sustainable way. This will be evidence based and informed by a suite of international, national and regional policies, robust research and importantly by the consultation process. The publication of this Issues Paper sets out some of the key factors that will influence the development of Cork City. While comprehensive, it is not exhaustive. The purpose of this Issues Paper is to support and inform the consultation process.

At the time of preparation of this Issues Paper, there is uncertainty of the scale of impact that the COVID-19 virus will have on the global, European or Irish economy, but the consensus is that it will be substantial. It is also likely to impact on society in a wide variety of ways and may change the way we go about our daily lives. The preparation of the City Plan will have to take account of these changing circumstances, which may impact on the form of public consultation we can engage in, and indeed on the Plan that finally emerges.

1.2 Context of the Cork City Development Plan

As the State’s second city, Cork plays a key role in driving the economic, social and cultural fabric of Ireland, in particular the southern region. Did you know that:

  • According to the 2016 census1 the population of Cork City is almost 211,000 and the City serves a metropolitan population of over 305,000 people.
  • The Cork region contributes 19% to the national economic output in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In The Financial Times, Cork is ranked 2nd small city in Europe for economic potential.
  • Cork is home to significant national level health, educational and cultural institutions serving the southern region of Ireland. These include Cork University Hospital (CUH), University College, Cork (UCC), Munster Technological University (MTU), and the Crawford Gallery to name a few.
  • Cork City boasts a strong heritage, with well-loved local heritage and cultural amenities such as the English Market, Shandon, the Cork Opera House, the Everyman Theatre, the Triskel Arts Centre, Elizabeth Fort, the Cork City Museum, internationally iconic Blarney Castle. The streetscape and the channels of the River Lee provide Corkonians and visitors alike with a unique experience.
  • Access to Cork is continuously improving. Cork is home tothe fastest growing airport in Ireland. Investment is being rolled out to improve public transport, walking, cycling, road and rail access. The National Transport Authority recently adopted a €3.5 billion twenty-year transport plan for Cork.
  • Cork is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a Healthy City. • ‘Cork City is one of the first globally to receive the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Learning City award.

1.3 National and Regional Policies and Objectives

Considering these facts, it is not surprising that to read what the National Planning Framework (NPF) says about Cork:

‘Cork already performs well as a major urban centre in Ireland and the city has positioned itself as an emerging medium sized European centre of growth and innovation. Building on this potential is critical to further enhancing Ireland’s metropolitan profile. This requires an ambitious vision for Cork at the heart of which must be an internationally competitive, sustainable urban environment. This means providing housing, transport, amenities and energy systems in aa best practice European context’

Importantly, the NPF sets a target for Cork City to grown by an additional 125,000 people by 2040 This means housin on average an additional 6,250 people and creating over 3,750 jobs per annum over the next 20 years2. This can only be done if Cork continues to be a great place to live, with a mix of urban and suburban housing, a resilient economy, top-class educational institutions, good quality health and social services and an appropriate mix of cultural, sports and recreational amenities. To achieve this it will be necessary to enable, stimulate and sustain significant private and public sector investment.

1.4 The Preparation of the City Development Plan

Cork City Council has commenced the 2 year process of producing the next City Development Plan 2022-2028 that will ensure that these ambitions can be achieved in a sustainable way. The preparation of the City Development Plan will consider key international and national policies such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals3, the National Planning Framework, the Climate Action Plan4 and the Southern Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy5. Importantly, it will be informed by the public. Cork City Council is publishing this Issues Paper to start the discussion on the future of Cork City.

This Issues Paper raises key questions that need to be considered in the preparation of the City Development Plan including:

  • How do we create and develop as a city that people have a good quality and healthy life or a liveable city?
  • What factors will guide the shape of our city, in which people live, work and enjoy leisure time?
  • How do we provide for new homes, neighbourhoods and communities?
  • How do we ensure that our economy can recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and is resilient through economic cycles?
  • What will the city look like, respecting the past and building the future? How do we sustain a distinctive built heritage?
  • What will the city of the future look like? What factors will influence urban development? • How do we ensure we continue to be connected locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? How easy will it be to travel around Cork by foot, bicycle, bus, tram, suburban rail and car?
  • How to we make sure Cork develops with the proper mix of recreational amenities, green spaces and support the valuable biodiversity and natural assets of the City?
  • How is all of this done in a sustainable way that will reduce the impact on and protect the environment?

1.5 Next Steps

Following the publication of this Issues Paper, Cork City Council will commence an extensive consultation process designed to inform the City Development Plan. The stages of the Development Plan preparation and consultation process are illustrated below. As part of this consultation, Cork City Council will engage widely and will consult with community groups, business representative organisations and the voluntary sector, through the Public Participation Network www.corkcityppn.ie. We look forward to having a meaningful conversation on the future of our city and encourage everybody to take part in the process.

Details of events taking place during the consultation process will be available at www.corkcitydevelopmentplan.ie Submissions or observations are invited from all and can be made by the following means:

  • Using the on-line submission portal at www.corkcitydevelopmentplan.ie
  • By posting your submission to Development Plan Submissions, Strategic and Economic Development, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork T12 T997 The deadline for submissions is 21st August 2020.

  • 1-  The most recent census data.
  • 2-  The National Planning Framework was adopted by the Government in 2018. It sets out the ambitions and targets for Ireland’s sustainable growth to the period 2040
  • 3-  There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 as a blueprint to achieve better and more sustainable development for all.
  • 4-  The Climate Action Plan was adopted by the Government in 2019.
  • 5-  The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy was adopted by the Southern Regional Assembly in 2019 and came into effect in January 2020.  This provides a framework for the development of the south of Ireland,  and in particular sets out a plan for Cork Metropolitan Area.