Land reserved for recreational purposes and an access road to Colaiste na Coiribe must be left out of a proposal to hand back residentially zoned land in Knocknacarra/Rahoon to a central body.
This is the view of Independent councillor Catherine Connolly, who has alleged that the central body which it is proposed to give more than eight hectares of land to “has yet to be set up” and remains “unnamed and unidentified”.
“Some of the land which have been earmarked for an entrance road to the new school for Colaiste na Coiribe and also for recreational facilities,” she said.
However a Galway City Council spokesperson said City Hall can “guarantee that the entrance road is being put in place” and that it will be there during and after construction.
The spokesperson also said that the council is in discussions with the Department of Education and VEC on the issue.
Regarding the “unnamed and unidentified” agency, the spokesperson said this is related to the Government’s Land Aggregation Scheme.
Any lands bought by the council for development as housing estates, which are now worth less than they were bought for and where the council no longer has the money to build the houses, can be bought back by the Government under the Land Aggregation Scheme. This clears the individual council’s of the debt and interest payments on the lands.
Cllr Connolly also said the Government is moving away from local authority owned property, preferring to opt for short and long term leasing of private property for people on the housing waiting list, including the rental accommodation scheme and the handing over of affordable houses to various housing associations for five year leases.
“It is crystal clear from the last two Galway City Council meetings that there is a fundamental change in Government housing policy,” she says, “one that has the most serious implications for tenants’ rights.”
She said these decisions “make absolutely no sense in a city where 3,500 households are on the housing waiting list for up to 10 years and 413 more households waiting to be assessed”.
Cllr Connolly said she will be seeking the support of other councillors for the retention of the residentially zoned land for a public housing construction programme.
“Such a programme will provide much need housing, employment in the city, and tax/vat returns to the Government,” she said. “In addition the use of co-operatives for the construction of social houses should also be explored.”