A SKIBBEREEN builder has criticised Cork County Council for rejecting a 34-house turnkey proposition.
A spokesperson for Carrigfadda Builders Ltd told The Southern Star: ‘We are hearing that the Department of Housing has money available for turnkey housing, yet Cork County Council has declined to acquire the 34 houses we could provide within the next 12 months.’
About 10 years ago, the builder said a different developer had secured planning permission to build 34 houses on the two-acre site – which is located at Gortnaclohy Road below the new Skibbereen Community School – but the collapse of the Celtic Tiger meant that the development did not go ahead.
He confirmed that Carrigfadda Builders Ltd bought the site 12 months ago, extended the planning permission, and started the ground works at the site one month ago.
Speaking at a meeting of the Western Committee in Clonakilty on Monday, Maurice Manning, the Council’s director of services for housing, confirmed that the Council had considered the proposed development as a possible turnkey scheme, but does not intend to pursue it.
Mr Manning said the Council has a site adjacent to the building company’s site and the Council is ‘committed to the development of 50 houses as part of a Public Private Partnership bundle.’
He said the design of the Council’s scheme is progressing and it is expected that the Part 8 planning process would come before Council later in the year. He also said that construction would be likely to start in 2018.
Mr Manning said the provision of an additional 34 social housing units is not required and would not result in an appropriate mix of tenure.
The representative of Carrigfadda Builders Ltd said he was disappointed with the director’s position.
He said: ‘There is a huge social and affordable housing need in the Skibbereen area.
‘We have been told that there is money available for housing and we can produce 34 turnkey properties within 12 months and yet the Council is not in favour of our proposal.’
When Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) raised the issue at a Western Committee meeting he said he, too, was disappointed with the Council’s decision and he complained that there are only six social houses in the pipeline for Skibbereen at present.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said the builder had told him that the 34 houses would have a minimum of A3 BER rating and would comply with the latest building regulations.
Cllr Collins said: ‘Fourteen of these houses are four-bedroom semi-detached, and 20 are three-bedroom semi-detached – exactly the kind of houses needed by the people on the housing list in Skibbereen.’