The Nuncio Road site in Kilkenny City, one of the sites which have been allowed resume, should be providing homes this summer
The three building sites where work has resumed in Kilkenny will hopefully see new homes allocated to families during the summer months, Kilkenny County Council has said.
The sites — at Bolton in Callan, Nuncio Road in Kilkenny City and Main Street in Piltown — will together deliver 83 homes for people in Kilkenny. They were deemed ‘essential sites’ in the context of social housing delivery last week by the Department of Housing.
Whether or not other construction projects around the county could also be opened up in the coming weeks is not yet known.
“We have applied for a few more around the county, but the critical thing is that they must be at the correct stage in construction,” says Director of services for housing with Kilkenny County Council Mary Mulholland.
Under present guidelines, a project must be nearing completion, required locally to meet housing needs and to prevent the risk of homelessness and be able to return to site in compliance with public health requirements.
Overall Kilkenny County Council, working with its Approved Housing Body partners have more than 250 additional housing units in their delivery pipeline. The planned delivery of newly constructed housing units in 2020 was over 183, however, now due to the closure of sites, many projects will not be delivered until 2021.
Ms Mulholland says that, while it is important that construction projects delivering social housing continue to provide new homes, it is equally, if not more important, that every necessary step is taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19. For this reason all sites that recommence construction are required to meet stringent requirements in relation to separation distances and site worker safety. All sites will be closely monitored by the council’s Housing Office.
“Hopefully we get a few more, but there is absolutely no way of knowing,” said Ms Mulholland.
“I would think that, at the moment, we are going to open these ones and see how we get on with compliance. The Department would be looking for some feedback from us on how that is being managed, how compliant it is before they make a decision on the next round.”
There may also be the added issue of the sourcing and delivery of required materials, which may well prove challenging in the weeks ahead.
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