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Housing tensions rise at Rosslare Municipal District meeting – ‘Stop sitting at the end of the desk and saying no’

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Cllr Lisa McDonald.

Cllr Lisa McDonald.

Cllr Lisa McDonald.

wexfordpeople

With barely a dozen available properties to rent across the entirety of Wexford, the county council has yet to appoint a vacant homes officer to bring derelict houses back onto the market.

On foot of a query from Councillor Jim Codd regarding a vacant property on the New Line Road, housing officer Caroline Creane admitted this position had not yet been filled.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Rosslare Municipal District (RMD) Ms Creane said that the house, which is in Mullanour, could not be brought back into use until an appointment was made.

“We’re going to get a vacant homes officer, but they haven’t been appointed yet, that will be on their remit whenever they’re appointed,” she said.

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Noting that the property had been empty for “months, years”, Cllr Codd asked Ms Creane for an estimate as to when it would be ready for habitation.

However, before she could answer, Cathaoirleach Jim Moore noted that an application for funding to renovate the building had to be made before any work could take place. With no details on whether such an application had been made, Ms Creane said she would consult with the capital plan team and return with an update.

Meanwhile, Councillor Lisa McDonald believed that until Wexford County Council changes how it does business, this housing crisis will continue unabated.

“The money is there, the government has made that very clear. We should be contacting the developers, we have to start doing this. Stop sitting at the end of the desk and saying no, get up off our desks and find the solution to this,” she said. “It’s a feature of modern life now, they’re saying no if it doesn’t exactly match the criteria. People who have been rejected for planning, go and contact them, see are they interested in resolving the matter, I know people who are in that realm and they would be delighted to sit down in a meaningful way and discuss how they can move forward on their sites.

"They feel there’s too many roadblocks there. There’s too many logjams in the system, let’s get up off our desks, talk to those developers, anyone who’s expressed an interest over the last five years, contact them and see what their problems are and how we can resolve them. We’re becoming very formulaic, if we continue to say ‘you have to do this, you have to do that’, people are not going to engage, I see it in every walk of life. Somebody somewhere has to stop and say, ‘let’s meet and let’s talk’. People become more and more entrenched in their position and we end up with a societal divide which is not good for anybody.”

While the council is currently canvassing developers for expressions of interest for new housing across the county, Councillor Frank Staples was keen to find out exactly where potential developers were hoping to build in the district. However, as Ms Creane explained, those details can only be furnished once due process has been completed.

“At this stage we’re only having preliminary meetings but when we get to that stage I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to. But right now, no, because it’s literally only an expression of interest,” she said.

“When we get expressions of interest for turnkey properties and land, it’s discussed within the housing section and then it goes to another meeting with planning, procurement and different sections. In order to gauge the level of interest out there, people should fill in the expression of interest forms. Then we can contact them. If they don’t want to submit the form they can contact a member of the capital team and they are meeting with people, that’s ongoing.”


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