One-fifth of applicants turn down offers for houses in Kenmare social housing development

Kerry County Council has confirmed that one-fifth of the applicants have turned down offers for state of the art houses in a social housing development in Kenmare.

The development at Ard Bhearna, Gortamullen, Kenmare in considered to be one of the most modern and energy efficient to have come on stream in either the private or public sector in Kerry in recent years.

The 22-house development at Ard Bhearna outside Kenmare Town in County Kerry which cost €4.25 million to build. Picture: Don MacMonagle

It is also one of the first social housing developments in Kenmare in a number of years.

Considered one of the most desirable locations for a second home or holiday home, Kenmare is also one of the most expensive in Kerry, depending on views and proximity to the town.

Property prices on for the town yesterday ranged from €37,000 for a second-hand terraced house in a non-scenic area in October to €725,000 for a three bed in a scenic location in August.

The 22-house development at Ard Bhearna, on the Killarney Road has just completed at a total cost of €4.4m.

Rated A in terms of energy efficiency, it comprises ten 3-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units.

However, four of the 22 families and individuals offered houses have turned them down.

Local councillor Patrick Connor-Scarteen (FG) says he is shocked.

The four refusals were all for two-bed terraced houses, it is understood. Each has a floor space of 84.5 sq metres - just 11 sq metres less than the three bedroom units.

“I was shocked. I am dealing with social housing issues in Killorglin, Cahersiveen and Kenmare for the last ten years and I never saw the likes of it,” Mr Connor-Scarteen said.

The reasons for the refusals have not been divulged.

People’s circumstances change, fair enough. But there should be some mechanism in place whereby they have to inform the council.

He also believes the council itself needs to update its lists and its register on a more frequent basis.

A spokesman for Kerry County Council said when there is a refusal, the council moves onto the next person/ persons on the qualified allocations list.

Offers have been made to the new qualified applicants already, the spokesman said.

Tenants are in the process of moving into the development as a whole, at the moment.

Some 2,800 applicants have qualified for social housing and are awaiting same in Kerry.

A number of council meetings have been told that demand for two-bedroom houses is high especially to accommodate single persons.

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