Housing boom for West Cork

February 22nd, 2021 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Director of housing Maurice Manning uneviled the plans to councillors this week.

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Council targets almost 1,000 homes county-wide in 2021

ALMOST 1,000 homes are to be built this year by Cork County Council, many of them in West Cork.

And referring to the fact that the Council spent €100m on housing last year, Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) told a Western Committee meeting on Monday that it was a good figure ‘to silence the members’. It [€100m] is a huge boost for housing, he added, ‘but also for the building industry throughout the county.’

Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) was similarly enthusiastic saying, the projected target of 1,000 houses in 2021 was ‘fantastic!’

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said: ‘This has to be one of the best housing reports we have seen in many years. It’s outstanding and I am delighted to see the 50 houses in Skibbereen are going ahead on schedule.’

‘Probably the best in the country in terms of the provision of housing,’ was the response of Fine Gael Cllr Kevin Murphy. ‘I hope the momentum will continue for years to come.’

Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said the amount of building is very encouraging and he joked that when the new houses planned for Bantry come on stream it would make the life of county councillors ‘so much easier.’

Council’s director of housing Maurice Manning thanked the members for their enthusiastic response to the housing programme. He said: ‘It’s down to a lot of hard work by a lot of people in the housing department.’

Mr Manning confirmed that the Council is claiming €100,788,101 for local authority housing, extensions to social housing units, energy efficiency and retro-fitting houses and renovating voids in 2020.

He said the number of housing units delivered in 2020 was 723, but the figure for 2021 will be 932 and this includes turnkey developments, houses acquired under the buy and renew scheme, the repair and lease scheme, as well as social leasing.

Although lockdown may have an impact, Mr Manning said he is confident that the 932 will be delivered by the end of 2021, or early 2022, and that 263 of them will be built directly by the local authority.

Throughout the county, 98 units are at the preliminary stage, 151 are at the design stage, and 34 at tender, but there are 263 already at construction stage.

The county-wide programme for 2021 includes 13 new units at Ballydehob; 57 at Beechgrove in Clonakilty; six at Richmond Court in Bandon; 17 at Courtmacsherry; 18 at Kearney’s Field in Dunmanway; 10 in Macroom and six in Skibbereen.

In addition, there is a public private partnership (PPP) scheme that will see 50 houses built at Pound Hill in Skibbereen, as well as 52 at The Miles in Clonakilty, and 50 at Oakwood in Macroom.

Mr Manning said that the phased completion of the PPP scheme will happen before the end of September.

Meanwhile, a 30-unit turnkey development at Curraclough in Bandon has been finalised. Funding for a 34-unit turnkey development at Caherdaniel in Bantry was approved and work is expected to commence when the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Under the turnkey scheme – which is where a developer builds the houses and sells them to the Council – a further six has been approved for Castletownbere. Five are being finalised in Glengarriff, and the remainder of the 33 units at Abbeyfort in Kinsale are expected to be completed in 2021.

A 34-unit turnkey development at Gortnaclohy in Skibbereen is also in the works and in Schull, conveyancing has commenced for 14 more houses at Copper Point.

Meanwhile, in Eyeries, work on a turnkey development consisting of six three-beds in a development of 12 houses is due to start soon.

Under the capital assistance scheme, 18 units are to be built by Cluid at the former convent in Bantry. Mr Manning said site works are underway but building work has been temporarily suspended, due to Covid-19.

He said the percentage of the local authority’s 1,812 houses in West Cork that are vacant is down to 1.76%. And, as for the tenant purchase scheme, he confirmed that 24 sales have been completed in the western division.

In terms of retrofitting houses in West Cork, Mr Manning said 967 properties have been upgraded and the tenants now have a more comfortable home through better insulation and ventilation

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