There are over 600 people with disabilities waiting for housing in Cork county.

Councillor calls for universal design

A county councillor has suggested all new houses should be built with universal design principals in mind so both disabled and fully abled people can live in them.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of Cork County Council, Fianna Fáil Cllr Gearoid Murphy said in this “modern day and age”, new houses should be suitable for people of as many levels with ability as possible.

Cllr Murphy was responding to a motion put forward by Fine Gael Cllr Kevin Murphy who wanted to know how many people with disabilities are currently on the housing waiting list in Cork county.

He called on the Housing Strategic Policy Committees (SPC) to agree that a certain percentage of new homes in large scale developments be designed for people with physical disabilities.

He said: “I am concerned over whether we are paying enough attention to disabled people on the waiting list.”

He said a recent development in his home town of 40 new houses had two allocated for people with disabilities: “I don't think two is enough out of forty houses. What we should be doing with developers is, when the application goes to the planning department, the Housing SPC should get involved straight away and mention the fact that there should be some percentage of those houses built specially for people with disabilities,” said Cllr Murphy.

Maurice Manning, Director of Services said in 2021, there were 625 people on the housing waiting list in county Cork with intellectual, mental health, physical or sensory disabilities.

Since 2017, the council has housed 550 people with disabilities.

Mr Manning said: “Cork County Council has approximately 570 specially adapted houses within its stock. When the stock survey, that is underway at present, is completed it will provide a precise figure and a detailed breakdown of adapted properties. Houses to be transferred under Part V are identified and agreed with the Housing Department before a planning application is lodged. The permission granted is linked to the drawings submitted showing those individual houses.

“If specific needs, in particular areas, are identified, they will be reviewed in the context of individual planning applications, at planning stage, having regard to the site, its characteristics and the type of accommodation being provided.”