Funding for Kilkenny western environs falls short of tenders due to rising costs

Costs of construction have risen, but Kilkenny still on course to exceed housing targets

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Work on Kilkenny's western environs

Over €5 million in funding was announced under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) to provide the infrastructure required to enable development of 800 houses in the area

The lowest tender price for essential infrastructure works in Kilkenny’s western environs is higher than the original cost estimated in the application process for the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF).

Kilkenny County Council was successful in its application for a grant of 75% of the construction cost of road infrastructure to the west of the city. Worth just over €5 million, the grant is needed to build a connecting road from the Callan Road to Circular Road, and to realign Circular Road and the Kilmanagh Road.

With the CPO for the scheme in place and detailed design nearing completion, it was hoped construction of the road would begin before the end of this year. There are plans to build housing and a new school simultaneously.

However, tenders have been received and the lowest one is higher than the funding currently in place. Director of services with Kilkenny County Council Tim Butler says the reason for the disparity in cost is that there has been a general increase in construction costs over the last two years since funding for the western environs was applied for (7–10% per annum).

“It is expected that we will be signing contracts before the end of the year and commencing construction shortly thereafter,” he said.

As a result of the disparity, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has now asked the council to come up with proposals to mitigate it.

The Department has also requested that the council submit further information on the housing proposals in the area which is to be served by the infrastructure.

At a meeting on Monday, director of services Mary Mulholland told councillors that Kilkenny remains on course to be ahead of its Rebuilding Ireland target for housing delivery. The target for 2018 is 133 units, and in fact 185 units are expected, between construction (105) and acquisition (80).

Chairman of the Housing SPC Andrew McGuinness said the latest housing report was a 'hugely positive turn' and showed there was light at the end of the tunnel. He paid tribute to all the staff in the council's housing department.

READ MORE: QUESTIONS OVER PROJECTED COST OF HOUSES IN WESTERN ENVIRONS