By Eimear CotterCOSTING over ?17 million to construct, the largest social and affordable housing scheme so far in Swords was officially launched by Minister Noel Ahern last Tuesday.
The Applewood housing project, at Applewood Village in Swords, was developed in conjunction with property developer Gerry Gannon and consists of 138 units, a mix of 110 social houses and 28 affordable units.
The project involved the construction of 110 units of accommodation under his Department’s Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme by The Iveagh Trust, as well as a further 28 units for Fingal County Council under the local authority affordable housing scheme, at a cost in excess of ?17.5 million.
The units are a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments and duplexes.
‘This is an integrated Part V development which represents a very significant contribution to the social housing needs of the area with the 110 units being allocated to those on the local authority housing waiting list,’ said Minister Ahern.
Set up in the 1800s, The Iveagh Trust is one of the oldest social housing providers in the country. Minister Ahern commended The Iveagh Trust on its first venture outside the Dublin city boundary.
‘Since its foundation the Trust has provided affordable housing accommodation and hostel facilities for disadvantaged vulnerable people in our society and has always set high standards of design and construction for its houses.
‘This has continued up to the present day with this wonderful new scheme of houses here in Applewood in Swords.’
Minister Ahern praised the work of the voluntary sector. ‘These voluntary housing organisations bring a special energy, expertise and effectiveness to their work and I want to put on record my appreciation of the valuable contribution they make in the provision of social housing,’ he said.
The Minister congratulated all those involved in the scheme and wished the residents many years of happiness in their new homes.
Director of Housing in Fingal County Council, Alan Carthy said the council and The Iveagh Trust are working together to create ‘stable communities for people to live in’.
’The Iveagh Trust take estate management very seriously and applicants must go through an interview process. The aim is to avoid ghettoisation, to develop a community and to get the mix right within the 110 houses.
’All 25 year olds living in the 110 Applewood houses would not be right, neither would all 60 year olds.
So the challenge is to get the mix right, to create stable estates where people stay and form a community,’ said Mr Carthy.
Back in April 2001, Fingal council was the first local authority to develop a special housing strategy.
This Applewood scheme, and similar schemes in Balbriggan and Tyrellstown, are the culmination of this strategy.
The social units in Applewood have been filled by residents on Fingal council’s social housing list. A couple of the affordable units are still available.