TWENTY Five individuals and families on the Drogheda Borough Council housing list will have new homes within 18 months as work begins at the site of a new social housing scheme in Moneymore.
Among those who will benefit from the new houses, which will be built on the green between Moneymore and Brookville, are two elderly local residents, a family which includes a child with a disability for whom the house will be specially adapted, two single people with disabilities and a formerly homeless man.
Work on the scheme, which comprises two four bedroom and 23 three bedroom houses, is expected to be complete within 18 months.
Outgoing Mayor Paul Bell turned the first sod at the site on Monday and construction work is due to begin shortly by Mullingar-based firm Andrews Construction.
The occasion was poignant for the Mayor as a former resident of the area and the event marked his last formal duty as Mayoral before handing over the chains of office on Monday night.
'It's amazing because I used to play in this field and I lived three doors away over there so it is fitting that this is my last duty as Mayor,' he commented.
Drogheda Borough Council has also made history with the development as it becomes the first local authority in the country to use the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government's 'Build to Lease' programme to provide social housing.
The Council has combined with the Department, North & East Housing Association and lenders Ulster Bank to deliver the 25 housing units.
The unique project has also been welcomed by Labour TD Gerald Nash, who was a member of the council when the idea of infill housing on the site was first mooted ten years ago following the closure of the right of way between the two estates.
'This is a very innovative scheme and it will provide much needed housing for people in the local area,' he said.
Mary T Daly, Senior Executive Officer, Drogheda Borough Council, said three of the houses will be dedicated as incremental purchase homes while the remaining 22 will be tenants of the North and East Housing Association.
She revealed the 19 build to lease social housing units at Mell were oversubscribed and an application for a further 23 units as Phase Two of this development has just been lodged with the Department of the Environment.