Tuesday 22 May 2018

Sixteen social houses for Kanturk on the cards

However, concerns raised over density of proposed development

Bill Browne

A proposal by Cork County Council to build 16 social houses on a site at Bluepool in Kanturk has been given approval by local county councillors, but not before some reservations were expressed about the development.

The issue was discussed at great length during the February meeting of the Kanturk/Mallow district committee held at the Carnegie Hall in Millstreet. 

While council had altered the original plan to take into consideration concerns raised by locals relating to traffic safety in the vicinity of the site, a major bone of contention had been the density of the development, with Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) proposing an amendment that its scale be reduced to 12 semi-detached houses. 

He said that while social housing was badly needed in Kanturk and should be supported, he could not support the proposal as presented. 

"We should keep it in he context of what was originally planned for that area, to have two houses on each site. I believe we can still achieve a good result here with the right type of social housing and will be voting for that," he said. 

Cllr O'Shea said he was "disappointed" with the plan presented to councillors and would also be in favour of reducing the number of houses. 

"There are already 14 houses and a farm on the Upper Bluepool Road, we are here today trying to more than double that. Not enough thought has been given to the impact this kind of density will have. I would support Cllr Murphy's amendment that this be reduced to 12 semi-detached houses," said Cllr O'Shea. 

He also raised concerns about the designs of the proposed houses, saying no provision in their design had been made for downstairs toilets and bathrooms. 

Cllr Melissa Mullane (SF) said that while she too had reservations about the design of the houses, she would be voting in favour of the proposal pointing out that there were 149 people on the local housing list, a situation that Clr Mullane said needed to be addressed.

 Cllr Gearoid Murphy (FF) said that he also had reservations about the density of the development and was disappointed nothing had been done to address this given the number of submissions received on the subject. 

"However, the need for social housing is pressing, so I will be voting in favour of this, albeit reluctantly," he said. 

Cllr Bernard Moynihan (FF) was in broad agreement with his party colleague, saying fewer houses would have been a more acceptable option.

"However, I will be reluctantly voting for this because I could not, in all conscious, vote against it given the very real need for social housing in Kanturk," he said. 

Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) said that when he was elected to council he pledged that the provision of social housing would be high on his agenda. 

"While I might agree with some of the issues raised, there is no way I could go against this. Right now I want to get this moving and any amendment can be made when it goes before full council for approval," he said. 

The councils director of housing services, Maurice Manning, said the authority's report on the development made it clear that the number of houses was appropriate for the site. 

He pointed out that were the proposal not adopted the council would "effectively have to start from scratch on the scheme again."

Council engineer Keith Jones further pointed out that were this to happen, it would be unlikely a new scheme would be given approval by the Department of Housing.  

When put to vote Cllr Murphy's amendment was defeated by four votes to two and the proposal for 16 houses adopted by the same margin.  The plan will now go forward to full council for approval.