Granny flat scheme for rural Limerick is a ‘no-brainer’

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Liam Galvin, Fine Gael. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

GRANNY flats could be one solution to help to solve the housing crisis.

That’s according to former Mayor Liam Galvin, who has called on the Department of Housing to consider a grant aid scheme for granny flat extensions for persons on the housing list where agreement is reached with the house’s owner and applicant.

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Speaking at last Monday’s council meeting, the Fine Gael councillor said that such a programme would be perfect for young couples struggling to find a home in their local communities. He also took the view that it would be an ideal scheme that could benefit small building contractors.

“It is increasingly difficult in rural areas where the housing crisis is different from the city. Many young couples want to stay in their communities, in their towns and villages, near their families and friends. The houses are not available. Sewerage schemes don’t have the capacity, schools are seeing their class sizes reduce, and GAA clubs are struggling to field underage sides,” Cllr Galvin told council members.

“We want to keep people in their communities and granny flats would be a no-brainer. This would be an idea scheme. We should make the necessary steps.”

Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary supported his party colleague and agreed that the scheme would be a “no-brainer”.

Sinn Féin councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh also felt the grant aid scheme for granny flat extensions could be of benefit.

“Getting a mortgage seems like a fantasy to people of my generation,” he said.

The Housing Development Department at Limerick City and County Council noted the proposal.

“There is no scheme of this nature at present. However, it is open for private owners to make a proposal to the Council to construct an additional unit on their lands and sell or lease the additional unit to the local authority,” Director of Service for Housing Development, Aoife Duke explained.

In this case, the units would be allocated in accordance with the scheme of letting priorities.

“Any submission of this nature would be assessed on a case by case basis. Any proposal to add an additional unit/granny flat within an existing plot would be subject to the normal planning criteria,” she concluded.