A CITY councillor has responded to widespread criticism for comments made about a social housing project in the Montenotte by claiming there is a deficit of private housing in the area.
Joe Kavanagh (FG) said this week that locals in the Middle Glanmire Road area are “angry and distressed” over plans to develop 54 social houses — to be managed by an approved housing body on the grounds of St Dominic’s Institute and Retreat.
He added that planning permission which was previously in place for a 44-home private development on the site would be more appropriate and said concerns arise regarding the density of housing and the lack of private housing available in the area — not the fact that the new development is for social housing.
The comments have “appalling” and “disappointing” by other councillors in the north-east electoral ward.
However, Mr Kavanagh said his comments reflect those of constituents that have approached him on the matter.
“There is planning permission in place for 44 private houses and everybody welcomed that. There is a 10% allocation for social housing. That’s fine,” he told The Echo.
“It’s the density of the housing that has got locals upset.
“There are 147 units being built on the Boherboy Road for affordable housing with a social housing element. That is fantastic for the local community but if someone wants to buy a private house in a private development there is a deficit and even more so in this area.
“Young couples want to buy homes in the area but it is difficult to find them,” Mr Kavanagh added.
“I am not anti-social-housing, far from it. I am surrounded by social houses. I am looking a the big picture and there needs to be balanced in every area of housing in the city. There is a genuine deficit of private housing in the city.
“I am in favour of every type of housing because no two people are living the same circumstances.”
However, Ken O’Flynn (FF) described Mr Kavanagh’s comments are “seriously divisive” and “setting the public and private against each other”.
Labour representative John Maher said: “We have a housing list that is years and years away from any sign of movement or completion.”
“This proposal would see 54 families homed. It would see 54 people off the housing waiting list.
“Whatever happened with the private developer is quite frankly not an issue at this moment. If they wanted to build the houses, you can be sure they would have built them.
“Here we have a site ready for housing and you have an elected councillor opposing them.”
Thomas Gould (SF) said: “This once again shows Fine Gael’s lack of understanding of the housing crisis at a time when there are thousands on the housing waiting lists.
“We urgently need to be building more houses and even though 54 is only a drop in the ocean, on the larger scale — it would mean 54 families would have a home when they are built.”