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Off-loading of housing estates

Because of the downturn in the building industry, partially completed private housing developments have been lying unsold. Uncertainty reigned and nothing happened.

The developers are now off-loading large housing estates to local authorities.

With 90,000 applications to local authority housing lists nationwide, I welcome this news.

I had regarded it as encouraging that local authorities were changing from large estates to smaller, more manageable, intimate housing developments. That trend is now being reversed.

Under severe financial difficulties, developers have to offload. In some cases, local authorities have to buyout people who have entered into contracts for properties in large estates, so as to bring the entire estate into the social and social-leasing housing category.

By going back to the large estates, we are returning to the problems of old.

We must change to meet the housing needs of families.

What does ‘affordable’ housing mean? The concept is welcome, but what confidence has the Department of the Environment about the delivery of affordable housing, throughout all the local authority areas?

There is a hesitancy, a lack of experience, and a big question mark as to whether or not (if local authorities build or acquire such housing) they will be able to get people to take them. This hesitancy I cannot understand in the current social-housing crisis.

Were it not for the voluntary agencies leading the way, and the recognition of those endeavours by the DOE, the concept of affordability in housing would be very limited, indeed.

There is confusion among house buyers and local-authority applicants about social, social-leasing and affordable housing.

I would appeal to the Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan, to hold a thorough investigation into what is happening and I avail of the opportunity to thank her for her efforts, to date, in helping to resolve the current housing crisis.

Cllr Noel Collins
‘St Jude’s’
Co Cork


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