THE delivery of more than 100 new social housing units on Cork’s northside has been deemed an essential piece of work, with construction allowed to restart by the end of the week to finish three projects.
Phase 2a of the Knocknaheeny Regeneration project (32 new houses and 15 apartments), along with work ongoing on 25 homes on Blarney Street and 43 homes at White Street have been green-lighted by the Government for completion.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Tony Fitzgerald said the North West regeneration is a huge investment in the north side of the city where residents of the Knocknaheeny area will avail of new homes and amenities.
“Phase 2 A, which was due to be completed very shortly was delayed due to the Covid-19 regulations, but I am delighted that this and a number of other sites have been identified and given the go-ahead to complete.
“It will provide 32 new houses and 15 apartments. I think its a boost to the construction industry because materials will need to be purchased and it will give a start to the construction industry at this time.”
Mr Fitzgerald said the site is still under the ownership of the contractor and it will be completed and handed over to Cork City Council who will then allocate the houses under the regeneration programme.
“We are looking at three to four weeks before the new residents can move in,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
The Knocknaheeny Phase 2a regeneration project consists of 11 three-storey houses, 21 two-storey houses, along with 15 apartments in five blocks.
Road upgrading and landscaping are also included in the contract and the construction is being carried out by Murnane O’Shea.
Phase 2A includes plans for a new public park located directly opposite Barnardos.
It will be the first of a series of linked green spaces that run throughout the entire regeneration master plan, creating a long permeable path through the development.
The plans state: “This design comprises of a series of grassed terraces, transversed by pathways, with informal seating along the edges.”
Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent said that while everyone is preoccupied with Covid-19, the housing crisis is still ongoing.
“It is absolutely vital to continue this work.”
Mr Nugent also said that he was aware of the importance of compliance with health and safety guidelines and social distancing in the workplace for the staff who were completing the projects.
“It is good to see the work being done but it has to be safe for the workers.”
Local TD Thomas Gould also welcomed the work, although he did say he thought the whole regeneration of the Knocknaheeny area was taking too long.
“I went to my first meeting about the regeneration of Knocknaheeny in 2000. That is 20 years ago.
“If this was a private project, this would be finished by now.
“There are people waiting to be moved into new houses and they are in their 70s and 80s now, to be moved at that time of your life, I’m not sure it is wanted.”
Mr Gould said he would like to see Cork City Council given more autonomy with housing projects and also to reduce the red tape clearance issue with Dublin.
“Cork City Council need more authority with housing in general,” said Mr Gould.