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Council spent €1.8m on purchase and upgrade of former B&B in Clonakilty

April 18th, 2024 7:00 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Council spent €1.8m on purchase and upgrade of former B&B in Clonakilty Image
Cork County Council purchased the former B&B for €1.2m and spent the remainder on refurbishing the building.

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CORK County Council has refused to divulge any information regarding the planning permission status for a property it purchased in Clonakilty to refurbish for homeless families, at a total cost of almost €1.8m.

A senior Council official said they could not provide planning status information on MacLiam Lodge in Clonakilty because it was ‘already in the public domain’.

However, the relevant file, which is an ‘old Town Council planning file’ is currently in storage and must be requested to be taken out for storage, for which charges apply, the official said.

Last month The Southern Star reported that Cork County Council is to house eight homeless families in the former B&B known as MacLiam Lodge, on Clonakilty’s Western Road.

Housing officer MacDara Ó h’Icí told members of a West Cork Municipal District (WCMD) that the ‘pilot project’ should meet the short-term needs of these families, who are currently living in emergency accommodation.

A Cork Co Council spokesperson later failed to answer directly a query if MacLiam Lodge had full planning permission for all its buildings at the time of the purchase, but instead said: ‘The Council does not have concerns in relation to the planning permissions for the buildings.’

Mr Ó h’Icí  told the meeting that Cork County Council is looking at other buildings throughout the county to meet the needs of the 146 people identified as homeless in the county, and the 32 families also living in emergency homeless accommodation.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on the building, Cork County Council released correspondence from the Department of Housing which showed approval for the purchase and refurbishment of the building, at a total cost of €1,785,000.

The Department noted that the building, when renovated, would provide eight accommodation units for homeless families. This comprises eight four-person units, to house 32 people in total.

There will be six ensuite large family bedroom units, and two two-bedroom apartments.

The Department had laid out eight conditions, under which the development would be approved.

The conditions include that a Flood Risk Assessment would be carried out prior to acquiring the property and also that the design would allow for the building to be converted into independent apartments in the future, if needed.

Information released under the FOI to The Southern Star showed that the initial cost of MacLiam Lodge was €1.2m and that an additional €10,000 was spent on utilities like ESB, gas etc. The Council purchased the contents of the former B&B for an additional €15,000.

Some items in the document referring to the budget for the purchase have been ‘whited out’ rather than blacked out by the Council, and so it is unclear what elements have been hidden from view.

A listing on myhome.ie says the former B&B was purchased on November 15th last.

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