An invasive plant species found on a site in Clonakilty earmarked for 56 council houses is being treated, but it has been claimed that construction on the badly-needed homes is unlikely to start until at least the end of 2017.
Concern was raised two months ago by Senator Tim Lombard that the presence of Japanese knotweed would hold up the development at Beechmount indefinitely.
He said he was so shocked by its proliferation around the country that he was calling for a national taskforce to deal with its eradication.
The plant can cause serious subsidence in houses. The problem is so bad in the UK many mortgage providers are refusing loans if there is knotweed close to homes.
The issue was subsequently raised at a recent meeting of the council’s western division by Sinn Féin councillor Paul Hayes, who sought a update from officials about what was happening with the project.
He was given an assurance that knotweed has already been treated and will continue to be until it is no longer a threat.
“It will be eradicated at that site before building starts. I pointed out that the project is too important to have any hiccups and further delays due to the amount of people waiting for housing in the region,” said Mr Hayes.
The council’s director of housing, Maurice Manning, said it was believed the knotweed arrived in infill which was brought into the Beechmount site in 2015.
Mr Manning said that a full-time ecological clerk of works will be employed at the site to monitor and oversee ground works during the construction period.
Mr Hayes said that while he would like to see construction starting as soon as possible on the houses, under the circumstances it was unlikely to happen until late 2017 or even early 2018.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved