Cork residents threaten to block construction of social housing in estate

Cork residents threaten to block construction of social housing in estate

Construction on new social housing at Lios Cara, Killeens, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

Residents have threatened to mount a blockade and halt construction in a row over plans to build 44 social housing units in their estate.

It is the second time in recent months that a residents’ group in Cork city has criticised the approach which sees the local authority working with private developers to deliver social or affordable homes in partially built private estates.

Just weeks after residents of Eagle Valley in Wilton criticised this approach, the residents of the 94-unit Lios Cara estate in Killeens, near Blarney, say they recently learned that the original plan for 44 additional private dwellings in the next phase of their estate’s development has now changed to a 100% social housing development.

It is understood that Cork City Council has entered into an agreement with a developer following a competitive dialogue process to build seven two-bedroom townhouses, 32 three-bedroom townhouses, and five four-bedroom semi-detached houses on the site.

Residents left 'frustrated'

The residents have now threatened to mount a peaceful blockade of the estate from Wednesday – a move which would prevent construction on the building site - until they get meetings to discuss the situation.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the residents said they are “acutely aware” of the housing crisis and that they support social housing, affordable housing and private housing within the community.

But they said: “This deal was carried out without engagement by the developer and the existing residents, despite what was felt to be a good open honest relationship. The residents have been left frustrated and anxious by the actions of the developer.

“The purpose of the protest is not to block any delivery of housing but to encourage the developer in engage in meaningful dialogue.”

'Much-needed housing'

Local FG Cllr Damian Boylan said he understands the residents’ concerns but said a compromise can be found.

“People must remember that we are in the midst of a housing crisis and this is an effort on the part of the local authority to deliver much needed housing,” he said.

Solidarity Cllr Fiona Ryan said she supports the provision of social housing on the site but said other long-standing issues linked to the non-delivery of various amenities also need to be addressed.

“Some residents don’t want any housing on the site, others understand the situation but want to have a say in the development and are calling for meetings with the developer or council,” she said.

Independent Cllr Ken O’Flynn said the residents have fair points and that a mix of social and affordable homes should have been considered on the site.

SF Cllr Mick Nugent said council officials have told them that the social housing plan is “set in stone” but he said residents' concerns need to be heard.

“We have a housing crisis and council officials are telling us this scheme is part of their social housing delivery, but we feel engagement needs to happen,” he said.

Green Party Cllr Oliver Moran said while the residents have many legitimate concerns, the typical locations for social housing is changing as well, with addresses like Shanakiel, Blackrock, Montenotte and Maryborough Ridge being advertised by Cork City Council for social housing tenants.

“The homes being constructed in Lios Cara need to be seen in that changing context. Similar scale developments are taking place in Coolroe in Ballincollig, Ballinglanna in Glanmire, and Hawkes Road in Bishopstown,” he said.

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