Councillors query €1m cost of halting site development

A county councillor is seeking a breakdown of costs for the planned €1m development of two bungalows and a five-bay mobile home parking area.

Cork County Council is hoping to shortly receive approval from the Department of Housing for the project at a halting site at Ballydineen, Doneraile.

The chairman of the Charleville-Fermoy municipal district council, Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O’Flynn, said he was “taken aback” by the proposed cost.

“A three-bedroom bungalow in Doneraile would, on average, make €180,000,” he said.

You’d get seven houses for the price this is costing.

The planned halting site bungalows will provide two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

County Hall officials advised councillors that families on the halting site had been consulted and had agreed the proposals matched requirements.

Mr O’Flynn inquired as to why the families are not being accommodated elsewhere and was advised they did not want to leave the halting site.

Furthermore, the residents were not prepared to vacate the site during the planned works and the council would have to “build around them”, councillors were told.

Mr O’Flynn said that when the council’s housing department staff attend a municipal district meeting, he will ask them formally for a breakdown of the costs.

Mr O’Flynn also acknowledged that facilities at the halting site had been inadequate for a considerable period of time.

He welcomed the proposed works but queried the costs.

Council officials will seek to secure support from the municipal body once departmental approval is given and the proposed project completes a period of six weeks’ public consultation.

An official said he understood the county council had created the site more than 20 years ago.

Fine Gael councillor Kay Dawson said she could not understand why it had taken so long to upgrade the site.

She was told the size of the family units had changed there and it had taken time to establish their exact needs.

Fianna Fáil’s Ian Doyle said upgrading was urgently needed and Independent June Murphy urged council officials to do everything they could to speed up the project.

Meanwhile, councillors were informed enforcement proceedings were to be taken against an unauthorised halting site, also in the Doneraile area. They said it was taking some time to complete as the legal process in such cases could be slow.

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