Saturday 19 January 2019

Kanturk social housing plans take a step closer to becoming a reality

Bill Browne

The proposal to build a 12 unit social housing development at Upper Bluepool in Kanturk has taken another step closer to fruition and is now set to go before a full meeting of Cork County Council for final approval.

A plan to build 16 houses on the site had been narrowly adopted by Kanturk/Mallow area county councillors last February, despite misgivings by some of them in relation to issues including the density of the proposed scheme. 

However, that decision was subsequently overturned when put before full council for approval and reduced down to 12 houses, prompting fears that the development may be mothballed indefinitely while the planning process was revisited. 

Concerns were also raised that any delay to the scheme could see vital government funding for the project suspended or even withdrawn. 

However, the scheme was put back on track after the authority published a Part 8 planning application for the 12 houses scheme in April. 

Speaking at the June Kanturk/Mallow area committee meeting, the council's director of housing services, Maurice Manning, said that 14 submissions had been lodged in relation to the development. 

He said there had been a review by the Council's chief executive and the authority's responses to the submissions outlined in a lengthy report given to councillors at the meeting.

"We are recommending the proposal proceed and are asking that councillors recommend the chief executives report for approval by full council," said Mr Manning. 

Mr Manning said the provision of downstairs showers in the two-bed houses was the only amendment made to Part 8 application. 

One key issue of concern raised in the submissions was that of the laneway leading to Market Place which, according to one submission, "serves no purpose" and had become a gathering place for youths engaging in anti-social behaviour. 

In reply to a query about the issue from Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG), Mr Manning said the council had recommended the closure of the lane-way. He said this could only be though a legal process involving public consultation and that could be facilitated if the development was given the green light. 

Both Cllr Murphy and party colleague John Paul O'Shea welcomed the comment and requested that the formal process to extinguish the right of way along the path be started as soon as possible. All councillors agreed to send the report to full council for approval, much to the relief of committee chair Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind). 

"This has been a long time in the pipeline and while you can't please all the people all the time, I am delighted to say we have now done our part and the revised report will now be going to full council for a final decision."