New council houses on a Laois Main Street will come at a big price

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Housing construction

The massive financial burden facing Laois County Council in taking people off its housing waiting list is revealed in small social housing development in Rathdowney.

Laois County Council confirmed to councillors this week that it has received stage one green light for the development of five new homes off Main Street.

However, the accommodation is costly. A budget of €876,236 has been approved for the project by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

Cllr James Kelly said he is happy with the progress but questioned the value for money.

“Five houses bought over six months at €180,000 per house with no garden is not value for money for what’s going on,” added Cllr James Kelly.

Cllr Brendan Phelan asked Laois County Council that it request funding to provide social housing on its sites in Rathdowney at the Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellcik Municipal District meeting. He said more must be done.

“No councillor in Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick area has been at the opening of new houses in at least the last five years.

“We have a serious crisis all over the country, yes it is in Dublin but it is coming into our towns and villages.

“We have the sites but Laois County Council has not got the funds. It all depends on the Department but we need to keep the pressure on to start small housing construction,” he said.

The Independent councillor called for projects to move ahead faster.

“The process is terrible slow, it is two and a half years since the request went in. I would say it will be another year, the whole process is extremely slow,” he said.

Cllr John King said that although the process is slow it is positive that homes will be built.

“At least it is going to clean up a black part of the town,” he said.

Cllr Paddy Bracken said the running of social housing should return to how it used to be.

“Years ago the council built houses funded by the Department and we need to get back to that. We need to give people a house without getting tied into a mortgage for the rest of their lives,” said Cllr Paddy Bracken.

Tenders for a Design Team for this project will be evaluated in the coming weeks.