Laois housing target lower than council acheivements

Social housing: Low expectation by Minister for Laois

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

housing crisis laois

The government has set a low target of new housing to Laois far below what the local authority has proven it can achieve.

Last year Laois County Council was the second best in every local authority in Ireland at delivering homes for social tenants.

It was set a target of 76 homes to add to its stock, through building, buying and leasing from approved housing bodies. It actually provided 141 homes.

For 2019 however, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has barely raised the county's target, to 86 units.

Laois County Council is ploughing ahead with its housing program, both by building new homes and by urban regeneration, that should provide 370 homes in the coming few years.

This summer two estates will start construction. Shannon Street in Mountrath will get six houses, aimed at older residents, to start construction in June.

In Portarlington, 22 units will start construction in July at Ballymorris.

Progress continues on plans for another 133 homes in Laois, expected to be built in the next year or so.

They include 10 in Ballyroan, 14 in Rathdowney, 16 in Mountmellick, 21 in Errill, 22 in Durrow, 14 in Portlaoise, and 68 inStradbally.

The council's urban regeneration programme will deliver 211 homes out of unused lands or derelict buildings in Portlaoise town centre.

The biggest of these is the plan to build 80 apartments in the former CBS site beside Portlaoise Train Station, which will also provide a 95 space car park for commuters, to be operated by Laois County Council.

The latest on that plan, given at the March monthly meeting, is that draft legal agreements have been exchanged with Ardain Developments, an unnamed approved housing body, and the council. Formal planning will soon commence with discussions on design and layout ongoing.

In Hepburn Court/Knockmay on the Ballyfin road, 43 homes are planned. A tender to demolish buildings is hoped to go to contract in May. Cluid housing body has been chosen to deliver voluntary housing on part of the site.

O'Moore Place regeneration will deliver 34 homes on land that had been a sourceof anti-social behaviour. The owner of the site has confirmed the preferred architect and builder and detailed design is awaited. Tender documents to demolish six derelict houses will be published by April 4.

Also in Portlaoise, the derelict Presentation convent now has a design team appointed by Sophia Housing Association and Co-Operative Housing Ireland, to develop 47 units, on a budget of €10million.

Lastly in Portlaoise the derelict County Hotel purchased recently by Laois County Council, will be converted to 7 voluntary apartments. Discussions have started with an unnamed approved housing body on design and refurbishment.