Cork County Council has opposed a move by Cllr Noel Collins to rezone the controversial Amgen site near Carrigtwohill.
Amid an outcry for affordable housing in East Cork the Midleton based Cllr is pushing for measures to allow for social housing units to be constructed on the vacant 140 acre site.
The land originally earmarked for the American Pharmaceutical giant is zoned as a “strategic Employment Area” in the county’s development plan.
Meaning the site is key to the future development of metropolitan Cork in attracting foreign direct Investment.
The 56 hectare site has lain idle since 2009 after the biotechnology company decided to put the construction of its billion dollar bulk manufacturing facility on hold.
The factory had the potential of employing up to 1,100 people which would have changed the entire makeup of the region.
At the time Cork County Council invested over €6million in the upgrade of the site to accommodate its development.
Since 2009 a number of firms have expressed significant interest in obtaining the former Amgen site although no formal commitment to take over the site has been made.
Mr Collins told the October sitting of the local authority he was “very disappointed in the snail pace approach by the IDA to date”
“Taking into consideration that the development never materialised, the Council should request the IDA to hand over the site to be used for much needed social housing in the East Cork region” he said.
In a report to council, head of the authority’s planning department, John O’Neill said the local authority already had an extensive land bank in the Carrigtwohill area available to it for social housing need.
He said “the availability of approximately 144 hectares of residentially zoned lands, further strengthens the sites attractiveness and points to Carrigtwohill’s long –term suitability as a strategic location for economic development.”
Independent Cllr john Paul O’Shea who backed Cllr Collins motion said the IDA should attend council to outline its intention for the site.
He said “there is a longstanding issue with the site and it’s about time something is done about it.”
Fine Gael Cllr Kevin Murphy said the problem of housing is not the availability of land the issue is the council’s ability to get builders to start building.
While Fellow Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry said “the Carrigtwohill area has a large area zoned for housing and the counter balance for that you need zoned land for industry and jobs as well.”