Frustration as start yet to be made on housing
MEMBERS of Bray Municipal District have expressed outrage at the ‘dragging out’ of the approval process for houses at Murphy’s land, Kilbride Lane.
‘We thought building would be happening on this land at the moment,’ said Cllr Joe Behan. ‘I’m getting information that the Department of Housing are dragging out the approval process,’ he said. ‘ The Minister for housing every day says how much he is doing. The reality is that the department is holding this project up. I am very concerned about that. I am concerned that the starting date is going to slip again. WE should seek clarification from Wicklow county Council and the Department of Housing as to when we can confidently expect work to beging.’
Cllr Behan said that he is worried that there will be further delays. ‘People are depending on it to begin,’ he said. ‘ There are many homeless people and over 1,000 on the housing list. THis is the only scheme in the area and the department doesn’t even look like it’s getting to a starting point.’
He suggested writing to the minister on the issue.
Cllr Pat Vance said that the local authority has built three houses in six years. ‘I remember highlighting this in 2011,’ he said. ‘It’s a tragedy that 3,000 kids are sleeping in hotel rooms at night.’
He said that there is a housing emergency yet the authorities are still subject to the same planning laws. ‘It’s taking years to build anything. 42 houses won’t even make a blip on the list we have.’
Cllr Michael O’Connor agreed with both of them and said it’s taking an inordinate amount of time. ‘We should be writing to the minister,’ he said. ‘It is a drop in the ocean, but 42 families will actually have somewhere decent to live.
‘ There are more stages involved here than the bloody Tour de France,’ said Cllr O’Con- nor. ‘Meanwhile, nobody is packing their bags to move in. THe minister needs to get his act together.’
Cllr Steven Matthews said that there are 180,000 vacant premises in the country. ‘If we were to even address a quarter of that we would halve our housing list,’ he said.
Cllr Christopher Fox said that the scheme is in the department’s control and it should be processed quickly. He said he spoke to an official during the week expressing the same concerns as Joe Behan.
The chief executives had met with the minister. One thing Joe Lane from Wicklow County Council said to the minister was that it was too slow, with too many stages and too many hoops to jump through. ‘We need to deliver social housing more speedily,’ said Cllr Fox.
Administrative officer Triona Irving said that it is frustrating that people are on the list for 12 or 13 or even 14 years. ‘We will certainly write to the minister,’ she said.
Ms Irving said that the information seems to change, with one step forward and another step back.
42 social housing units are planned for the site, with a cost of €14.7 million.
Cllr Joe Behan.