New house scheme rises from the (cr)ashes in Conna village

Tommy Barker reports on a kick-started new house scheme in the north Cork hinterland of Conna village.

New house scheme rises from the (cr)ashes in Conna village

Conna, Co Cork €230,000/€250,000

Size: 1,840 sq ft -1,950 sq ft

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 3


THE builder family’s story behind Conna’s Castle Meadows is quite a snapshot of where the Irish house market has come from, where it went to and where it’s headed as recovery continues apace.

Taking on an uncompleted development in the pretty village of Conna, on the River Bride with its feature five-storey tower castle, is builder Paudie Cronin, and his sons Stephen and Padraig, who bought an 11-acre site with planning for 60 units, at an Allsop auction last year.

Paudie has 35 years experience himself, working previously for more than 20 years with Barry Supple on a number of schemes and contracts, and has been busy recently been doing contract work for the likes of CIT, Cork City Council, and other bodies.

Now, on his first new homes scheme in his 2011-formed HBS Construction, Mr Cronin’s been joined by his son Stephen, an engineer who’s just back in ireland after five years working in Melbourne, Australia, and by his son Padraig, who has been in construction in London for four years — and who has just come back also to Ireland.

The Conna site (25 miles from Cork city) they bought in 2015 had five detached homes out of a planned 65 houses already built by Chieftain Construction before the crash, and bases were down for seven more.

After an engineering all-clear on those poured bases, HBS is busy this month on those foundation/bases, taking out the then-mid 2000s standard insulation and replacing it with higher grades to give their forthcoming brand new builds the necessary ‘A’ BER rating.

First to be built and sold will be 10, four-bed, energy efficient timber-framed homes ranging from 1,840 sq ft to 1,950 sq ft, being sold by city-based agent Jeremy Murphy & Associates at prices between €230,000 and €250,000.

Already, Mr Murphy says there’s interest from the hinterland and from Fermoy and back towards Midleton. Frames will be up by May and first new homes on the site completed in a decade will be ready for occupation by Autumn, says Mr Cronin.

Given the trade-off between space and value for money in A-rated newbuilds vs a possible commute, agent Jeremy Murphy also expects city-based inquiries and sales also, with 1,500/1,600 sq ft four bed semis and 1,1150/1,300 sq ft three-bed semis set to follow, at as-yet undetermined prices.

VERDICT: First new builds in the area for ages.

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