At least 30% of new homes in Killarney over the next six years will be on unused back gardens and infill sites, under proposals for housing in the Killarney Draft Municipal Plan, which is advocating much higher densities within the town.
Almost 700 accommodation units will be needed between now and 2024 as Killarney bucks the trend in most of Kerry with huge demand for housing.
The tourist town is the only one to have enjoyed significant population growth, going from 13,760 in 2011 to 15,312 in 2016.
Little land is coming on the market and the pressure on accommodation is fuelled by the tourist industry as well as by people wishing to retire.
“In addition to the absence of affordable accommodation, the town requires significant numbers of seasonal workers, which creates extra pressure in terms of the high numbers seeking local accommodation and high rental costs,” the planners say.
Families who want to set up home in Killarney are having to move to outlying villages to get housing.
Large numbers of people are retiring to Killarney from elsewhere in Ireland as well as from the UK and other countries.
According to the last census, the town now has an average age of 42. For towns with populations of more than 10,000 people this is the oldest average age in the State.
The policy going forward is to focus on developing and renewing existing built-up areas with a target of at least 30% of new housing to be on infill and brownfield sites “including publically owned sites”, the new plan sets out.
The proposal for the development of these areas, within walking distance of the town centre, is focusing on a number of opportunity sites including “underutilised back gardens” in the New St, Green Lane and Pound Lane areas.
The adjoining council-owned Beech Road Car Park between Main St and New St is also to be redeveloped for housing and commercial use.
New St, despite its name, is one of the oldest in Killarney, with a number of listed buildings.
However, some are vacant and New St has been identified “as an area where residential regeneration is necessary”.
“Sizeable and underutilised back gardens” have been identified by the planners which, when combined, have the potential for “a significant infill site” to be developed in the area.
Meanwhile, submissions to the Draft Killarney Municipal District Local Area Plan 2018-2024 can be made until this Friday.
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