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Cork County Council ‘over achieved’ on its house building target

From The Corkman.

Cork County Council “over achieved” its house building delivery target by 26 per cent last year. Its construction target was to provide 235 units but it actually delivered 295.

The level of delivery was achieved by both construction of houses by the local authority on its own land, combined with  the acquisition of newly built schemes through ‘a turnkey model’ in partnership with various developers.

The turnkey model has given the local construction sector a boost by injecting capital into the market and providing certainty for developers. In 2018 turnkey housing was delivered in areas including Youghal, Skibbereen and Kanturk.

Many more houses are in the pipeline for 2019 and 2020, in areas including Baltimore, Doneraile, Schull and Bantry, where the private development market has not yet fully recovered, the council said.

Cork County Council’s construction programme has also involved remedial works in a number of long-unfinished estates in areas such as Fermoy and Rosscarbery.

The construction programme for 2019 is even more ambitious, with a range of schemes across the county planned to deliver 487 units. As the economy recovers further, it is hoped that this level of construction activity will contribute to the growth of skills and capacity in the local construction sector.

The programme of acquisitions has complemented the construction programme and has achieved a similarly impressive return of 106 units in 2018, 39 per cent over target.

This has been achieved through a combination of local authority acquisitions – both under the buy and renew scheme and the standard acquisitions programme – as well as Approved Housing Body and Housing Agency acquisitions.

According to Cork County Council although construction is the main delivery mechanism for social housing, acquisitions will continue to have an important role in delivery in areas where the demand is at a level below that required to justify significant construction schemes.

The delivery of social housing through private leasing has proved to be a challenge across Cork County to date but, following a review of the existing schemes by the Department of Housing, it is anticipated that leasing will also prove to be a successful delivery mechanism in the future.

Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey said the authority is “determined to facilitate the provision of suitable, cost effective high quality accommodation to meet housing needs in the county.”

“To this end 1,293 housing units were built or acquired by the Council in the three years up to year end 2018,” he said.

Mr Lucey complimented the agility and ambition of the Housing Directorate and other key Council departments as well as acknowledging the support of the elected members in ensuring the delivery of an ongoing programme that provides for further significant increases in output over 2019 and 2020.