Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has expressed his concern in relation to the dramatic drop in planning applications being lodged with the planning authority in County Clare.
The Fine Gael Senator was reacting to the publication of the National Housing Construction Index by Link2Plans, showing a significant drop in the number of planning applications being lodged with Clare County Council. The figures also show a drop in the number of commencements across the County.
The National Housing Construction Index indicates that planning application figures in Ireland from January to April 2012 were down 20%. However, Clare recorded the third highest drop nationally (35%) behind Kerry and Kildare (both on 39%).
Senator Mulcahy said the figures represented evidence of the ongoing challenges facing the local construction trade and the difficulty being experienced by people in securing mortgages.
According to Senator Mulcahy: “A total of 115 planning applications were lodged to the planning authority between January and April, compared to 176 during the same period in 2011. This represents a 35% drop which will be of great concern to those working in the building trade in County Clare. Furthermore, there was an 11% reduction in commencements in County Clare during the same period.”
He continued: “The figures suggest that many people are having difficulty securing mortgages to finance the construction of new homes. This is typified by the fact that there has been a large increase in the number of home builders or developers looking for an extension to the planning application as the original application was about to expire after five years.
“The figures also show that increasing numbers of people are opting to rent properties rather than build their own home. Both situations have a negative impact on the construction sector and rural communities throughout the county where new housing starts are important for rural regeneration and the creation of jobs.
“The freeing up of credit to the Banks represents a key step towards ensuring that couples or individuals are given access to the necessary funds to finance the construction of their home. It is very clear that the long awaited Personal Insolvency Bill is one way of introducing confidence back into the market, which at present remains in limbo with significant implications for young couples and the building trade,” concluded Senator Mulcahy.
The sources of data for the Index are Planning Applications and Commencement notices as provided by local authorities under the planning and development act 2000 and the building control regulations 1997. The National Housing Construction Index may be viewed at http://www.link2plans.com.
Note to Editor:
Senator Tony Mulcahy is available for interview on 086-2436345