Social housing plan for Kerry

Kerry County Council plans to spend €62m in providing 1,058 housing units in the next three years.

Social housing plan for Kerry

That number of houses would be sufficient to accommodate a quarter of the county’s housing list by the end of 2017.

However, some councillors are sceptical about the possibility of meeting such targets, with Independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae saying he is going to frame the council’s social housing strategy and hopes it comes to pass.

Council CEO Moira Murrell said the targets were very ambitious.

Director of housing, John Breen, presenting a three-year construction and purchase plan, said the council was determined to avail of the value in the market at present.

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Around 600 homes will be rented; 240 properties expected to become vacant during the three years will be refurbished, and 110 homes purchased. It is expected people on waiting lists in rural areas will housed in properties that will be leased under the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

Housebuilding will be focussed on the bigger towns, including a 50-house scheme earmarked for Lohercannon, Tralee, costing almost €10m.

Mr Breen pointed out the council had been finding it difficult to get land in, or near, Killarney, where there was a big waiting list.

“We may need to look at villages and areas surrounding Killarney [for land],” he said.

Mr Breen acknowledged the targets were extremely ambitious and said an application for extra staff had been made.

Fianna Fáil councillor Michael O’Shea warned of a risk of driving up property prices in Tralee, Killorglin, and Killarney.

Labour councillor Terry O’Brien called for innovative planning and design for the new Tralee estate and suggested the 50 houses be spread around the Lohercannon area instead of being concentrated in one small district.

It is also planned to build 23 houses at Mitchels, Tralee; 20 houses at The Park, Killarney, 12 houses at Ardmoniel, Killorglin; 20 houses in Kenmare, and 32 houses on infill sites in Listowel and Milltown.

The plan also provides for the purchase of 30 houses in Tralee, Killarney, and Killorglin, in 2015, and 80 houses in the Tralee and Killarney areas, in 2016/17.

Meanwhile, house prices in Kerry have risen by 8.7% in the past year, according to latest statistics from the Real Estate Alliance.

The average price of a three-bed, semi-detached house in the county is now €155,000, with the average monthly rent being €533.

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