Westbury social housing goes ahead

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22 social houses are being built at the rear of the Westbury estate, a meeting of local residents was told last week.

Local county councillor Cathal Crowe, who organised the meeting, said that the houses will be built by Cooperative Housing Ireland Ltd on land once owned by Chieftain Construction. The Limerick company went into receivership in 2011 with their landbank in Westbury being taken over by NAMA.

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“NAMA sought planning permission to build 22 houses on the land in 2014. These were standard, private houses with no mention whatsoever of social housing being incorporated,” Cllr Crowe explained.

“I organised an information meeting for residents at the time and the outcome of this was a lengthy objection to the planning file that I drafted.

“This objection was supported by 114 residents and focussed mainly on their concerns relating to the overdevelopment of the estate and the added pressure to its infrastructure that would arise from the construction of a substantial new phase of houses.

The objections failed and NAMA put the land on the market.

“When I contacted NAMA recently to tell them there was illegal dumping on the site, I was flummoxed to find out that they had sold it to Cooperative Housing Ireland.”

He was told that construction is due to start at the end of 2019 and have the houses ready for tenants in the autumn of 2021.

“I have absolutely no problem with social houses and am acutely aware that there are scores of local people on the Council’s waiting list. We need to deliver as many social housing units as possible.

“While the residents of Westbury accept that the houses will be built, they still have the same concerns about the estate’s infrastructure.

“Westbury has almost 1,000 houses and is the largest housing estate in Munster but it has only one entrance into it. You wouldn’t hear of it anywhere else in the country,” he said.

Cllr Crowe has made a detailed proposal to Clare County Council to have the entrance to Westbury reconfigured to make room for a new turning lane and to enable more cars to queue for the traffic light system.

“Now, knowing that we are on the cusp of having a massive housing estate made even bigger, I will be pushing to have these proposals progressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.