The elected members of the Ballina Municipal District gave their approval for a proposed development of eight houses in Knockmore by the council this week. The plan will see the construction of three two bed houses, four three bed houses, and one four bed house in the development. The plans for this project were initially made back in 2009, but the economic circumstances in the country changed that, but now the project has been sanctioned to go ahead again.
Head of housing for Mayo County Council, Paul Benson, told the elected members there was a strong need for these houses with 13 people from Knockmore on the housing list and another 168 who said they wanted to live in the rural area of the Ballina environs. Fianna Fáil councillor Annie May Reape asked that local people would be given first consideration, this was echoed by Fine Gael councillor John O'Hara who said: "I'd like to see local people get first chances at that, because if they get the house they will stick to it and it won't be changing every second day, and will be the backbone of the schools and community in years to come."
Local Knockmore based councillor Seamus Weir, while welcoming the plan, made a submission asking that 25 per cent of the houses being built would be affordable homes because, "there are plenty of people who come over the income threshold for social housing, but they aren't that far over that they can get a mortgage, and this would offer them an opportunity that might not be available to them elsewhere." While this will not happen at this stage of the project he was informed there was only part of the site being used, and if the opportunity arose for such a scheme there was land available on the same site.
In relation to time scale, Mr Benson told the meeting: "Now that the Part 8 has been dealt we can get on with getting the final detailed design stage, then you've got to go to the Department to get approval to go to tender which you would hope to have by early spring 2017 and go to tender by the summer, with a view of starting by autumn time, and you are looking at then a 12 to 15 month contract, so probably looking at getting people in late 2018 around this time before Christmas. Hopefully a bit quicker and we don't experience any delays but you never know."