A proposal to sell a Carrick-on-Suir Town Council housing landbank as individual sites for private houses to boost the local building industry has been put to the local authority.
Fianna Fail Cllr Kieran Bourke tabled a motion at the Council's latest meeting calling for its lands on the Coonamuck Road, to be turned into detached sites for private housing. There is planning permission on the landbank for a mix of 70 social, affordable and voluntary houses and there is provision in the Coolnamuck Masterplan for 12 private sites at this location.
Cllr Bourke saidthe Council should put in the services infrastructure and sell off the land as site to people interested in building their own homees.
The sale of sites for private housing by the Council was done successfully in the 1970s at Woodland Heights in Carrickbeg and he believed it would provide employment to people in the building industry in the town and also give a boost the town's two builders' providers stores. He pointed to the fact that it was now policy that local authorities didn't build large scale estates.
Several members of the Council supported the proposal. Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan (FF) said it was an excellent idea while Cllr Landy (Lab) said the setting up of housing co-operatives was was done with the Lissadell and Clairin estates should be considered. These estates were built during a time that was not too different to now, he pointed out.
Cllr Pierce O'Loughlin said the proposal certainly should be seriously thought about and added that the Council would have to look at the whole housing situation in Carrick-on-Suir because of the unfinished housing estates, which were a "blot on the landscape".
Sinn Fein Cllr Liam Walsh said Cllr Bourke's motion was a good idea in the short term to stimulate the building industry in the town as very few council homes were going to be built and he felt Cllr Landy's proposal about establishing a housing co-op should be followed up.
Town Clerk Michael O'Brien said it could not reach a decision on the matter at the meeting.
The Council would have to sit down and do a thorough review of potential uses of its lands at Coolnamuck in view of current housing policy prioritising the Rental Accommodation Scheme and long term leasing schemes.
While the Council provided in the Coolnamuck Master Plan for 12 private sites at the Coolnamuck Road landbank, he said the development of this land in the short to medium term was unlikely because of the current housing policy.
He pointed out to councillors that there were many factors for the local authority to take into account in considering Cllr Bourke's proposal and while local authority housing policy had changed dramatically in the past two years, this was not to say there wouldn't be another dramatic shift in another two years.
The only thing stopping the Council building houses now was the availability of capital funding, he said.