By Paul O’Malley
A local councillor has said that it is a “hammer blow” to not have any affordable houses included in Westport’s newly approved scheme for the construction of 50 council houses on the Golf Course Road.
Cllr Peter Flynn said he had hoped some affordable houses would be included in the scheme, adding that 2009 was the last time an affordable housing scheme was delivered in the county.
In April 2021, Cllr Flynn put forward a motion to the Westport Municipal District calling for the allocation of 30 of the 50 proposed Golf Course Road houses as affordable or mixed-tenure housing.
The motion was defeated.
He said the announcement is ultimately not a good one for young working people in the town or in the county as a whole.
“I have stated from day one that this should have been a mix of social and affordable so families earning over €26,000 were given a chance. Good luck to those from far and wide who will receive these homes but this announcement is not a good day for young working people in Westport or Mayo,” he said.
Cllr Flynn claimed the development is not sufficiently planned out and should include a greater mix of housing units. He pointed to a recent Bord Pleanála decision that saw planning permission overturned for the development of 46 houses in the Carrowbaun area of Westport. “When you look at the recent decision by An Bord Pleanála to overturn a planning decision in Westport on a near identical site with 46 houses because the density was at least 60% too low and there was no mixed tenure, it just highlights how crazy this development is.”
Cllr Flynn said he intends to put a motion before the next meeting of Mayo County Council calling on the local authority to write to all senators and TDs seeking an increase of the current threshold on income bands for those applying for social housing.
“Working people looking for housing need more of a balance to be able to work around. The current income band doesn’t offer enough for those seeking housing.”