THERE is a pent up demand for the provision of more permanent dwellings for young families in Lahinch, according to a local councillor.
Councillor Shane Talty said the big difficulty in the North Clare tourism hot spot is whether any new private housing development will be delivered at an affordable price.
Victoria Cross Limited has applied for planning permission to Clare County Council to construct 28 new houses at Station Road, Lahinch.
Commenting on this proposed development, Councillor Talty said hopefully these new houses will be priced in a way that ordinary working families can afford them so they can contribute to the local economy throughout the year and provide children for the local schools.
“There is a need for new housing but it is a matter for the local planning authority to ensure there is a planning condition that stipulates they will be for sale for permanent occupancy.
The most recent development that was granted planning permission in Lahinch didn’t include these planning conditions.
“The housing mix in Lahinch has changed in recent years. A lot of the legacy housing that were built through tax incentives in the late nineties and early 2000s as holiday homes have changed hands for permanent occupancy for very modest prices during the downturn.
“There are a lot of young families living in houses that were bought for about €85,000. While people may drive by and say there are a few hundred houses in the town, about 50% are occupied permanently.”
Councillor Talty hopes the proposed housing development, which is going through the planning process, will be either owner occupied or owned and let out on a private rental basis all year round.
He pointed out some Eastern European workers who were in North Clare for the last 12 are struggling to get permanent rental accommodation, apart from winter lets before they are asked to leave to facilitate lucrative summer short-term lets.
Commenting on the provision of wastewater and water facilities, the Lahinch-based postmaster referred to the current “chicken and egg” crux.
Plans are in the early stages for the upgrading of wastewater treatment facilities in Lahinch.
“What we are seeing in the County Development Plan is Irish Water will walk away if there isn’t demand there. If you say you can’t develop because you don’t have the system, they may not upgrade the system in the absence of demand. It is is tricky one to time it right.
“It is a massive issue facing the county. In existing settlements where there are existing treatment systems, we will have to get them upgraded and allow more development.
“There are settlements with no treatment systems and no prospect of systems or development.”
Resident, Denis Vaughan believes no planning permission should be given until Irish Water have new water and wastewater treatment systems in place in view of the fact his water supply has been cut off three times a year and water rationing took place two years ago.
Mr Vaughan pointed out 26 new houses have been given planning permission on School Road, Lahinch, which will put a strain on water and wastewater services.
In 2019, he recalled the Environment Protection Agency(EPA) stated that sewerage continues to be released untreated into the Atlantic Ocean in Lahinch, which is having a serious detrimental impact on the environment.