€11m loan to repair 1,200 council homes

More than 1,200 local authority homes in Cork city are set for repairs and upgrades after council officials were cleared to apply for an €11m loan.

If sanctioned, the money from the Housing Finance Agency will also allow Cork City Council to take in charge 34 local authority housing estates, benefitting some 4,600 residents.

The move to apply for the loan was cleared by city councillors at Monday’s council meeting.

After years of savage cuts to the council’s housing maintenance budget, it is hoped the loan will fund one of the single largest repair and upgrade programmes on council homes for several years.

Details of the loan proposal were first discussed at the council’s 2018 budget meeting last November and were outlined again in February. But a detailed report presented to the council’s housing functional committee earlier this month came before council on Monday for decision, showing how the money will be spent:

  • roof repairs to 50 units, to include repairs of structural defects to roofs, chimneys, and associated internal works;
  • roofline repairs to 556 units, to include repairs to and replacement of defective fascia, soffit, gutters, downpipes, eaves, and felt;
  • and the repair or replacement of substandard windows and doors in 473 units.

The loan will also provide for a €500,000 ‘condition survey’ of the council’s entire housing stock. This work will record the full extent of required repairs citywide and will help officials plan a maintenance programme in a more logical and cost-effective way.

Most councillors welcomed the loan move and said it will finally allow for long-awaited repairs and maintenance works to start. But Workers’ Party councillor Ted Tynan raised concerns, slating the Government for starving the council of funding, and for putting it in a position of having to apply for a loan: “Servicing this loan will restrict our ability to fund other work in other areas.”

But the city’s head of housing, Brian Geaney, assured councillors that “appropriate project management and cost control arrangements” will be put in place. He also told councillors that they will be consulted on the works and locations once the tendering processes have finished.

Meanwhile, the department of housing has approved a €6.1m ‘energy efficiency deep retrofit’ pilot project in 129 selected council apartments at Edward Walsh Rd, Fr O’Flynn Place, Brother Rice Ave, Wolfe Tone St, Connolly Rd, Killeenreendowney Ave, Pouladuff Rd, Connolly Green, Dr Dominic Rd, and Pearse Place.

Tenders will be prepared over the coming weeks in a bid to start the work as soon as possible. The work is part of a national scheme targeting 2,000 older flat complexes in Dublin, Cork, and Limerick which are deemed to be “seriously thermally deficient”.


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