Councillor Gerry Flynn has claimed three mortgage applications for the controversial Glaise na Rinne affordable housing development near Cluain Airne were refused by lending institutions because the value of the houses were allegedly too high.
The Independent councillor stressed the council should carry out a review of the valuation, which was carried out previously, in light of current market prices in Shannon Town and its environs.
Director of services, Bernadette Kinsella, said the council is not be in a position to comment on the personal circumstances of any prospective purchaser.
Clare County Council is selling three-bedroom houses in the scheme for €125,000 while four-bedroom dwellings cost €135,000.
Councillor Flynn told The Clare Champion that there were three-bedroom houses for sale in Shannon for between €60,000 and €80,000, while a fully furnished modern dwelling could be bought for €100,000.
He expressed disappointment with the fact three prospective buyers had to pull out of purchases as he is anxious there would be a good take up of the 16 affordable and six step-down dwellings locally.
Ms Kinsella pointed out the council’s development at Glaise na Rinne is finished to a high specification with emphasis on durability and energy efficiency.
“The design and layout provides for spacious accommodation and a good-quality living environment for prospective occupants. A key aim during development and construction was to provide a high-quality product with an emphasis on the economical sustainability for the occupants.
“The houses are fully decorated throughout with high-quality fixtures and fittings. The market value of the houses reflects this quality standard,” she explained.
Nicole Murphy, who has lived in the area for over 30 years has requested the council to ensure the scheme remains as affordable housing and doesn’t want it to be changed to social housing if the take-up isn’t as good as expected.
Ms Murphy proposed the remainder of land for the 38 affordable houses should be rezoned as a green area.
Given this land was zoned under a Part Eight planning application, which can’t be appealed to An Bord Pleanála, she noted if this land couldn’t be rezoned, the council should provide a time limit as to when building may start to avoid a repeat what happened in Glaise na Rinne, which took over five years to fully complete.
Shannon Town councillors were told at a recent meeting 10 completed applications have been received for the scheme, while four houses have been booked/selected by successful applicants. Two of the sales are going for council approval at the local authority’s September meeting, with sales due to close shortly thereafter. The other two applications are pending, awaiting mortgage approval.
Additional information has yet to be received regarding one application, one application was ineligible, while one offer was not taken up.