New social housing development for Clonlara, Clare

Clare County Council has signed a contract with L&M Keating Ltd of Kilmihil, Co Clare, for the provision of a new social housing development at Glór na Srutha, Knockbrack Lower in Clonlara.

The 12-unit housing scheme is being constructed as part of the ongoing Clare County Council Social Housing Investment Programme which has in recent years resulted in the delivery of affordable and step-down units in Shannon and social housing units in Miltown Malbay.

The Clonlara development features 6 No. 3-bed semi detached two storey units, 4 No. 2-bed semi detached single storey units, and 2 No. single storey cottage style units. The housing scheme is funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and is scheduled for completion by August 2014.

According to Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins: I am delighted to see that the Council remains committed to building sustainable and successful communities through the provision of quality and affordable housing developments. These schemes are of a very high standard and can be favourably compared to housing provided by the private sector. At time when expenditure is very low nationally, this investment is a reflection of the dedication and determination of the Council to secure funds for the provision of new housing stock.”

Commenting on the new scheme, Cllr. Patricia McCarthy, Chair of the Council’s Housing Special Policy Committee (SPC) stated, “The design, accessibility and usability of previous social housing developments in County Clare have been of the highest standard and I am sure this scheme will be welcomed by applicants on the Council’s waiting list for social housing.  The development of the proposed site for residential purposes will not only secure the objectives of the Housing Strategy but will also secure the policy and objectives of the Clare County Development plan 2011-2017 and the South Clare Local Area plan 2012-2018.”

The project design team is led by Clare County Council’s in-house Architectural Services team with engineering design by Hassett Leyden & Associates and Moloney Fox Consulting, and Tom MacNamara & Partners providing cost management.

Ruth Hurley, Senior Executive Architect said the scheme is designed with an emphasis on accessibility with over 40% of housing stock proposed single storey to allow for “a wider spectrum of users, in line with universal design and life cycle adaptability.”

Ms. Hurley continued: “The design itself reflects the semi rural scenic location with traditional pitched roofs and a large emphasis of shared open spaces consisting of hard and soft landscape. In terms of energy efficiency these houses will be the most efficient design built by the Council to date with emphasis on passive heat gains, insulation and high energy efficiency.”

As an added benefit to local amenity, a new connection between the new housing scheme and the existing Derryvinna estate will provide a pedestrian route through to Knockbrack Lower road. It is anticipated that this access will be well used as a pedestrian connection to and from the local national school, other local neighbourhoods and it also links with the existing walking route amenity to the canal.

Bernadette Kinsella, Director of Services, Clare County Council commented: “The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government continues to support the development of houses in the County which is reflected in the work being undertaken to deliver the objectives of the Clare County Council Social Housing Investment Programme. Although this scheme is focused in the South Clare area, the Housing Directorate, supported by the Strategic Policy Committee, continues to provide improvement works, energy efficiency works and fit-outs to existing stock throughout the County.”