AN update is imminent in “the next number of weeks” in relation to seven brand new council owned homes which remain vacant some six months after being completed.
The state of the art homes on Belvedere Road have been left idle while negotiations are ongoing with families currently occupying an illegal halting site at Park. Despite the families having rejected the homes in writing, Wexford County Council have persisted in trying to persuade them to take up residence in the Belvedere houses on a “temporary basis”, until a group housing scheme they are entitled to under the Traveller Accommodation Plan is put in place.
The families involved expressed major concerns over some of the conditions which were to be imposed on them upon taking up residence in the new homes and informed the council that they would rather remain on the Park site until the group housing scheme is provided.
With things reaching a stalemate, frustration has been growing locally over the houses being left vacant in the midst of a housing crisis with many families crying out for such accommodation. However, the council are continuing to try and persuade the Park families to take them.
At the January meeting of Wexford County Council, Sinn Féin councillor Tom Forde sought an update on the situation with the Belvedere homes.
"As the members will be aware, the families who have been offered these houses are from a marginalised group,” said Director of Housing Carolyne Godkin. “We need time so that they can fully understand the process of delivering a group housing scheme. We’re still in negotiations with them and I expect that will finish in the next number of weeks. I’ll have an update for the members then.”
Cllr Forde has previously stressed that he’s receiving calls on a near daily basis in relation to the homes from families desperately seeking social housing. He has also stressed that it is in no way the fault of the Traveller family involved that these houses remain vacant.
Cllr Davy Hynes expressed his frustrations in relation to the situation too, stating: “Normally, if people are offered houses, they have a certain time to respond and then they are given to someone else. It seems there’s a whole different approach in this case. This has gone on long enough. There are too many people looking for houses.”