since then, it has removed 350 on-street parking spaces for the public

CORK City Council added 75 car parking spaces for staff at a cost of €1.6m five years ago — and has since removed 350 on-street public car parking spaces, over the past four years, as part of its policy for a less car-dependent city centre.

The City Council currently owns 255 car parking spaces for its staff of 1,500, it was confirmed this week, but the number of reserved spaces has been reducing over the years as sites owned by the Council get developed, a spokesperson said yesterday.

Cork’s Princes Street is one of 17 Cork city streets that has got huge gains from pedestrianization. Picture: Michael O’Sullivan /OSM PHOTO

The spokesperson confirmed the purchase of 75 spaces on the rooftop of a privately-owned multi-storey car park on Union Quay which went to market in late 2016, for an unconfirmed €1.6m: it was acquired to assist the relocation of 200 local authority staff from Cork County Hall due to the boundary extension, which completed in 2019.

The balance of car parking spaces at Union Quay are currently up for sale as an investment, with 25 further spaces on offer at €725,000 (next to City Hall’s 75 spaces) and is attracting extremely strong interest and active bidding via agents Lisney, with a current offer on it at €710,000.

At least a dozen inquiries have been made this month to buy those 25 spaces, both from investors and from developers who want to offer car spaces to occupiers of a scheme they hope to provide in the city centre.

It’s understood that City Hall is not in the bidding process this time around, not showing interest in buying further staff spaces to take ownership of all of floor four at Union Quay, which was developed 20 years ago by Howard Holdings under a tax incentive scheme, about 300 metres upriver from City Hall.

City Hall, Cork, with 140 rooftop and basement parking spaces for staff built to the rear as part of the early 2000s-delivered €35m Civic Offices extension. Picture Dennis Horgan
City Hall, Cork, with 140 rooftop and basement parking spaces for staff built to the rear as part of the early 2000s-delivered €35m Civic Offices extension. Picture Dennis Horgan

City Hall employees currently have a total of 255 spaces available: the Council owns 100 at basement level of the multi-storey carpark built next to City Hall in the early 2000s as part of a €35m investment in new Civic Offices.

It also owns a further 40 spaces on the roof of that car park, facing the Elysian on Eglinton Street.

Separately, City Hall owns 40 further adjacent car spaces at the St Joachim & Ann’s site on Anglesea Street, by the former mid-19th century alms house, recently upgraded to provided eight apartments for Cork Simon Community, bringing the total tally to 255 spaces owned by the local authority.

Easy parking in 1971 outside the 1850s built St Joachim & St. Anns, on Anglesea Street. City Hall owns 40 car parking spaces to the rear for staff. The old alms house was renovated in the past two years and now accommodates eight apartments for Cork Simon
Easy parking in 1971 outside the 1850s built St Joachim & St. Anns, on Anglesea Street. City Hall owns 40 car parking spaces to the rear for staff. The old alms house was renovated in the past two years and now accommodates eight apartments for Cork Simon

A City Hall spokesperson this week confirmed that “car parking for City Council’s 1,500 staff has reduced in recent years as city centre sites owned by council were redeveloped,” adding “140 of those spaces are in City Hall itself.”

Employees previously enjoyed 120 free parking spaces up until 2017 at Navigation House on Albert Quay, which it sold to O’Callaghan Properties in 2008 for over €9m; it retained its free parking on that two-acre site until development started in summer ’17 for OCPs’ Navigation House office development, which can accommodate 3,000 workers.

Meanwhile, there are more than 1,050 public parking spaces at Cork City Council’s Paul Street and North Main Street car parks, according to City Hall, who say there is “underused capacity seven days a week, ensuring ready availability. There are also over 900 spaces at the Black Ash Park and Ride.”

Pedestrianisation work being done on Princes Street in Cork in 1971.
Pedestrianisation work being done on Princes Street in Cork in 1971.

That Park and Ride, which opened 25 years ago, costs €5 a day or €1,100 pa and has a stop at City Hall. Six further ‘strategic’ Park and Rides are proposed as part of the €3.5bn Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) “aimed at delivering world class public transport and active travel routes as the city’s population grows.”

Since 2018, and stepped up during the Covid pandemic, some 350 on-street public car parking spaces have been removed by the City Council “to accommodate pedestrianisation of 17 streets, new cycle lanes around the city, widening of footpaths to make walking easier and safer for all ages and abilities, new bus shelters, bike parking, and parklets to support the redevelopment of buildings in the city,” added the spokesperson.

Loo! No cars! Street dining under shelter on  Princes Street, Cork. Picture: Sean O'Sullivan, ACE Media.
Loo! No cars! Street dining under shelter on  Princes Street, Cork. Picture: Sean O’Sullivan, ACE Media.

She said there also were 26, free, 15-minute set-down spaces in the city centre and in suburban Douglas “to enable visitors to the city to run an errand that takes less than 15 minutes.”