Two projects could set the blueprint for future social housing in Co Cork

Two new projects will form the blueprint for future council houses in Co Cork, as they are designed to be easily adapted for people who become disabled or for couples who require additional space as the size of their family increases.

Council officials have announced they are shortly to seek planning for six one-bed social houses at Townsend Street, Skibbereen.

They told a meeting of the West Cork municipal district council that the houses have been specifically designed to accommodate people who might become frail when they are older, or have suffered a life-changing accident which left them disabled.

Unlike social houses built previously, the bungalows can be easily adapted to suit changing needs.

Cllr Pat Murphy, who is a wheelchair user, said: “It’s vital that we do this in the future.

Other councillors pointed out that it was cheaper in the long-term to design adaptable homes rather than to retrofit them.

The council is about to appoint a consultant to oversee the €1.2m project and hopes to start work on it early next year.

Officials hope the project will become a template for such housing into the future.

Meanwhile, officials also unveiled details of an equally innovative social housing project which is planned for Dunmanway.

They have just received approval from the Department of Environment and Local Government to proceed with the €4m development at Kearney’s Field, near to the local church.

The council is planning a mixture of two and three-bed houses on the site.

Officials said 10 of the homes had been designed to have their attics converted into bedrooms, in a dormer style, should family sizes grow.

The project is to go out to public consultation, which should be concluded by September.

A design team will then be procured and construction will get under way early next year.

Meanwhile, councillors in North Cork have urged senior officials to use their powers to carry out compulsory purchases of buildings which are registered as derelict sites.

They said it would help to solve the housing crisis and regenerate towns and villages.

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