By Dan Walsh at Gorey Civic Centre
Housing issues has become an almost divisive subject with members of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District but following a presentation on the future of the St. Waleran’s site and a discussion at today’s monthly meeting at Gorey Civic Centre it is expected that the first key turns could be 18 months to two years away.
CEO Tom Enright told members that the Council paid €20,000 per acre for 70 acres following a fire in 2019 that destroyed St. Waleren’s House and he stated that he understood the urgent need for housing in the district and Phase 1 would consist of ‘affordable housing’.
Cllr Anthony Donohoe pointed out that the Council had the site for three and a half years now and he would like to see”it going forward”. He was supported by Cllr Willie Kavanagh and Cllr Pip Breen who stated; “it has the potential to be an attractive and desirable place to live.”
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said it was the ideal eutopian model town. “This is brilliant news. Well done. Anything that can be done to make it happen quicker is welcome.”
Having seen the presentation Cllr Mary Farrell described the plan as “fantastic” and claimed; “it is like looking into the future.”
Cllr Joe Sullivan said it was very welcome to see it moving on and added that it is “a brilliant development”, and he asked about the timeline for a key in the door!
Mr Enright said it would take three months to get planning in the traditional way but if given to a private developer it would be a quicker way to do it and accelerate the process.
Mr Enright would hope for some delivery within 18 months, and he explained some of the planning process. He said the first thing to do is to get planning for 140-170 units in the first stage (Phase 1) for social, affordable and private housing.
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux referred to “a new town within town” in 1-2 years “and we are getting there and the development at Creagh could provide another 80 houses.
Mr Enright suggested a proposal to bring the plans before a full meeting of Wexford County Council to start the planning process and this action was endorsed by the members.
Engineer Shay Hamill said the Council has an opportunity to make the best possible use of the land and this could only be achieved with good planning. “It is a super site and we don’t want to loose the character,” he added.
Director of Services Liz Hore referred to the maturity of the hedgerows and green spaces that make it financially viable.
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux concluded that Gorey district was on target for the 30% forecast in housing growth and the CEO agreed that the Council’s “biggest land bank” was going in the right direction. “There is light at the end of the tunnel for social, affordable and private housing,” he concluded.