BANTRY’S social housing need has suffered a setback after a 52-unit development was appealed to An Bord Pleanala.
Local councillor, Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said the development ‘could have solved a lot of problems overnight if it had gone ahead.’
The director of services for housing, Maurice Manning, agreed with Cllr Murphy’s assessment of the situation.
And he confirmed that Cork County Council granted planning permission for the ‘turnkey project’ – which is a private development that is sold on to the Council for social housing – on March 7th 2019.
However, a third party lodged an objection to An Bord Pleanala on April 3rd on the grounds that the proposed development at Milleencoola, Bantry, requires the preparation of ‘a development brief by the planning authority and does not give sufficient regard to the proper planning and sustainable development in the area.’
Cllr Murphy, who was recently elected chairman of the Western Committee of Cork County Council, said the delay could be considerable because An Bord Pleanala is inundated with appeals and also has to deal directly with planning applications for developments of over 100 houses.
The chairman said: ‘It is taking longer and longer for appeals to work their way through the system.’ Even if the planning application is upheld by An Bord Pleanala – which Cllr Murphy said he hopes it will – he said: ‘The entire project could be delayed by another 12 or 18 months.’
Cllr Murphy stressed the need for the development saying: ‘There are approximately 180 people on the waiting list in Bantry.’
And, with the availability of private houses for rent in Bantry at an all-time low, he said: ‘Rented accommodation is become scarce and expensive. There are a lot of people crying out for social housing.’