Cork gets €50m share of social housing fund

Some of the flats that were demolished in Deanrock.

Cork is set to get a €50m slice of social housing funding announced by the Government yesterday.

Some €13m has been set aside to deliver 65 social homes on a publicly-owned landbank in Cork City which has lain vacant since 2007.

The city council said it will advertise its Part 8 plans for the controversial Deanrock site in Togher next month, with construction due to begin in October.

The site, cleared in 2007 following the demolition of eyesore flats, has been the subject of controversy since 2011.

Efforts to sell it on the open market collapsed three times amid controversy over the tender process, and subsequent proposals to develop a supermarket on a portion of the site.

Against the backdrop of a threat of legal action from a developer, which could have seen the city facing damages of up to €15m, the site was withdrawn from the open market. But the new social housing plan emerged at Monday’s council meeting.

Local councillor Fergal Dennehy (FF) welcomed news that councillors would have now a say in the development of the site. He said he was particularly pleased that talks are ongoing about the provision of a community facility on the site.

“This is a welcome development compared to where we were two years ago,” he said. “But the devil is in the detail. If we can deliver something positive, something we can sell to the local community, I think it will benefit everyone.”

The Deanrock site is one of several social housing schemes earmarked for six city council-owned landbanks which have the potential to deliver up to 350 units, councillors were told.

Building work on up to 150 units — including the 65 on the Deanrock site — could be underway by the end of the year. In a report presented at Monday’s council meeting, officials said six significant sites in council ownership are suitable for social housing. The council said it also plans to advertise a Part 8 planning process next month for the development of 40 social housing units on Gerald Griffin St, with construction earmarked to start in September.

An approved housing body is expected to be involved in the delivery of a further 39 units on a site on Thomas Davis St, with work due to start in November.

Plans to develop 125 units on Boherboy Rd and units on Nash’s Boreen are being considered for delivery using a social housing public-private partnership.

Yesterday’s funding announcement will also see €4.7m being earmarked for the delivery of 26 units in Passage West, €6.5m for 28 units in the Castletreasure area of Douglas, and a further €7.3m for dozens more units in Ballincollig.

Fine Gael TDs Jerry Buttimer and Michael Creed said the new funding will help address the chronic housing shortage.

“New housing units are needed in Cork, with the large demand for homes, and it’s great to see that the councils are now progressing plans to build these new homes,” Mr Buttimer said.

But opposition politicians said the housing projects, while welcome, were a drop in the ocean, with the housing waiting list in Cork City alone standing at over 6,000 eligible applicants.


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