Private residents fear local authority’s lease plan ‘strikes wrong balance’

RESIDENTS of a private housing development have complained after a local authority leased more than 50 neighbouring units for social housing.

Cork’s city manager Joe Gavin defended the city’s social housing policy amid concerns it is striking the wrong balance in certain areas.

Mr Gavin made his comments after it emerged that the city has leased 53 units in the Eden development in Blackrock to rent them to people on the city’s social housing waiting list.

A group of residents who bought privately in Eden brought their concerns to several local public representatives.

Cllr Chris O’Leary called for a suspension of standing orders during the council’s meeting on Monday night to debate the issue.

He said the council has entered into a lease-to-rent arrangement involving a total of 53 units for social housing in the 260-unit development. He said this amount of social housing in a single development does not achieve the right mixture, or strike the right balance.

He also questioned the city’s policy of where it buys social housing, and how many units it buys.

He was backed by father of the council, Fine Gael Cllr Jim Corr.

Mr Corr said the original granting of planning permission for the Eden development was for a mainstream housing estate, and that the developer provide the standard part 5 requirement of social and affordable housing units – whereby a fifth of the development must be set aside for social and affordable housing.

“This was totally adhered to and the housing units were transferred to Cork City Council,” he said.

“These housing units were assigned as affordable housing units because the housing policy for that area of the city excludes the provision of additional social housing.”

He said the question which must be asked now is why should the council ignore the joint housing policy it has agreed with the county council.

He pointed out that people bought homes in Eden as a mainstream housing development and said the reality is that private home owners do not want to live in housing estates where there is a large number of social houses.

However, Fianna Fáil’s Terry Shannon criticised Mr O’Leary for raising the issue at the meeting, without allowing residents to discuss their concerns with city officials first.

“I don’t believe this is the right approach,” he said.

“We should tease this issue out in a more business-like and professional way.”

Mr Gavin defended the city’s social housing policy and said the Government’s part 5 requirement does not preclude local authorities from buying more units for social housing if that is deemed necessary. He also agreed to take the points raised during the debate on board in future.


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