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25 Sept 2022

Soaring building and inflation costs raise doubts over Longford's €14m Camlin Quarter regeneration plan

Regeneration

Doubts have emerged over whether the €14m ring-fenced by the Government for the Camlin Quarter will satisfy the project's overall cost

The €14m ring fenced to undertake a large scale overhaul of Longford town’s so-called Camlin Quarter is unlikely to meet the cost of that project due to soaring building costs and rapidly increasing inflation, the Leader has learned.

Approximately €10.4m alongside almost €3.5m in matched funding from Longford County Council was set aside by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien in March 2021 under the State’s Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF).

The monies had been earmarked to press ahead with a major reconfiguration of the lower end of town alongside developing a state of the art digital hub and carrying out a major overhaul of the former Connolly Barracks site.

Doubts, however, have arisen over the feasibility of those plans in view of a much changed economic climate council chiefs are now facing into.

It comes after a special Leader investigation two weeks ago revealed how a ‘fear of tendering’ has gripped the local construction industry with price hikes of up to 500 per cent in some quarters of the sector causing a major headache for building firms.

Despite those attempts, Junior Housing Minister Peter Burke said an inflation fuelled market was one which presented “significant challenges” to councils like Longford.

He did, however, invite council bosses to open fresh talks with his department in order to ensure large scale projects like the Camlin Quarter are not shelved indefinitely.

“The Department (of Housing and Local Government) fully appreciate the challenges in delivering capital projects in the current environment,” he said.

“The increase in material costs and capacity shortages is a significant challenge to manage. I worked with my Department to deliver a record investment through URDF for Longford.

“Through the current difficulties they can submit budget reviews as necessary under the regular URDF process to my department and will review same and do our very best to ensure this critical investment is delivered in Longford town.”

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