Sale of site to couple from UK is slammed by cllrs

July 17th, 2017 10:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Cllr Joe Carroll.

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A PUBLIC representative has expressed his annoyance that an affordable site in Schull is to be sold to a couple from the UK.

‘They could be the nicest people in the world – and they probably are – but why are they buying a site from the Council?' asked Cllr Joe Carroll (FF).

The councillor has form when it comes to complaining about the disposal of serviced sites – sites that were developed by the local authority and come with all of the amenities, such as power and water.

In April, it was with reservation that he approved the disposal of a council-owned site in Skibbereen to a local couple. And, when the issue came up at the most recent Municipal District of West Cork meeting in Clonakilty, he reiterated his concerns.

Cllr Carroll said it had nothing to do with the people who are buying the sites, but it had everything to do with the fact that they were developed first-day to assist people who are on the housing list get a foothold on the property ladder.

The site in Skibbereen, which was advertised on the open market and sold to the highest bidder, fetched €35,000 for Cork County Council.

Commenting on the number of holiday homes dotted throughout West Cork, Cllr Carroll said: ‘We have the highest number of unoccupied houses in the country and still we cannot get sites, or planning permission for local people.' 

Cllr Danny Collins (FF) said he also has strong reservations about selling serviced sites on the open market. ‘There are two or three houses coming up in Bantry soon and they, too, will be sold to the highest bidder,' he said.

Cllr Collins agreed with a proposal by Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) that all Council property – including serviced sites – should be dealt with under the Affordable Housing System.

However, municipal officer, Justin England, assured the councillors that the sale of local authority owned serviced sites must abide by the 20-year rule, which means they have to live in it for 20 years or face a claw-back penalty.

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