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Building work begins on 18 social houses in Tullamore

Thursday, 4 October 2018

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CONSTRUCTION work has finally begun on the long awaited 18 Offaly County Council social houses at Chancery Lane in Tullamore.
Contracts were signed last week with Coolsivna Ltd for the project and the council said the units should be ready for allocation during the last three months of next year.
Speaking at the signing of the contracts for the Chancery Lane houses, Anna Marie Delaney, chief executive, Offaly County Council said, "We are delighted to see the commencement of the building of these houses in Tullamore. We are adding to the stock we have available for social housing by delivering new units, and by acquiring and leasing existing units".
Tom Shanahan, director of services, Housing and Planning, noted that "the Council is building quality homes with the needs of occupants and the community in mind".
Mr Shanahan added: "The Council are supporting the housing bodies to build and we are also facilitating and stimulating building in the private sector. Planning applications for new build developments have increased in 2018 and the Council will continue to work with private builders to ensure connectivity to essential services and infrastructure".
The council is also currently building 33 houses in Blundell Wood, Edenderry and they expect them to be finished in the second quarter of next year.
Also, other schemes are either about to commence or at an advanced stage, including six houses in Cloghan,18 in Birr and four in Mountbolus.
Five units in Millrace in Ferbane were completed last year and a turnkey development, delivering 12 units in Kilcormac, "should be finalised early in 2019", according to the council.
These houses will add to the local authority's existing 1,809 housing stock.
Under the Rebuilding Ireland Programme Offaly County Council have a target of providing 468 social housing units between 2017 and 2021.
This will be achieved by the council's direct build programme, working with the approved housing bodies with their construction and acquisition programme, leasing, addressing voids and the acquisition of housing units.
Offaly County Council said they are confident that between projects commencing and plans at advanced stages that they will be in a position to surpass this target.
Cllr Tommy McKeigue welcomed the start of work on the 18 houses and he looked forward to other projects getting underway with the approved housing bodies.
The Fine Gael councillor noted however, that the Chancery Lane project was already "three years in the making" before the digger went on the site this week.
Despite the delay, the local councillor said: "At least it's going to increase the housing stock and the council will buy a few more."
Cllr McKeigue also said he was opposed to any further disposal of council houses through tenant purchase schemes.
“I think there has to be a whole rethink on that. We had 500 houses one time in Tullamore," he said.
“We sold some of them and now we're buying houses back."
He also said it would be better to build houses for those on the housing list instead of continuing to use the HAP (housing assistance payment) scheme which was not benefitting the council and was only "bringing money around in circles".

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