Eoghan Dalton Reports
Forty-nine new homes are a step closer to coming on stream for Ballygunner.
Councillors voted to progress the scheme which is located near to the Dunmore Road (R683) on an area approximately 2.8Ha.In its documentation for the scheme, the Council said the homes were needed as an assessment of the area in 2016 found that one hundred and eighty-eight households qualified for social housing support in the Dunmore Road area of Waterford City.
Local Councillor Eddie Mulligan (FF) opposed the development progressing on the night and told the room that it had been presented premature and should be withdrawn for further discussions in relation to facilities for the area, notably schools.The scheme was supported by John Hearne (SF), who told the chamber that Ireland had gone “back to the time of the slum landlords” and he referred to a photo taken of a child in Dublin who was pictured eating his dinner off a city street.Cllr Hearne also told the chamber that the forty-nine homes were facing opposition because they were social housing and were being developed to be in a “certain area”, which Cllr Mulligan rejected.
Cllr Seamus Ryan (Lab) questioned whether the houses would be lost if they were voted to delay the scheme, and committed to supporting its passing. “As we look to put another fifty social houses with a huge community space, we must be sustainably planning for proper infrastructural services and accordingly the neighbouring Gaelscoil and Gaelcolaiste must be engaged with,” said Cllr Mulligan who was supported by several fellow local Councillors.
Cllr Mulligan pointed to that a development which was granted permission under the Strategic Housing Planning for three hundred and forty residential units, five hundred meters from this site, where minimum thirty four would be social housing.
Cllr Mulligan proposed that the plans presented be withdrawn until the Council discussed the feasibility of the Gaelcolaiste sharing the space permanently with the social houses in a better plan where the Council are leading the way in infrastructural planning and delivery.This was put to the floor and lost narrowly in a vote – seven votes to nine. “I still firmly believe that this proposal is being brought to the consultation stage premature without the proper prior consultation with the adjacent community stakeholders,” Cllr Mulligan said afterwards.
“A delay of one to two months would not have had an impact on the planned supply of social housing, given one hundred and thirty seven units presented to us in early 2017, almost three years later none are completed. Amongst this are sixty proposed for Slievekeale which although completed all steps in the process, not a stone has been turned.“The site is zoned residential and community and houses located at each end with a difficult access on to one of the busiest junctions in the City was inappropriate.”
The local authority officials, who were keen to progress the scheme, said the development will go out to tender for design before the end of the year, with construction to commence in Q3 of next year.