Sunday 9 December 2018

Still over 250 vacant units in ghost estates

Esther Hayden

Wicklow has the highest number of vacant units in surveyed unfinished developments according to the latest figures.

The 2017 annual progress report on actions to address unfinished housing developments which was published last week shows that while levels of vacancy have reduced significantly Wicklow is the highest in the country with 251 vacant units last year.

The report shows that in 2013 there were 52 developments in Wicklow surveyed. This reduced to 32 in 2014, 22 in 2015, 11 in 2016 and nine in 2017. Of these nine three were found to be substantially complete or fully active to be removed from the Unfinished Housing Developments database.

There was a reduction of 33 per cent between 2016 and 2017 and six housing estates remain on the database.

Of the nine developments surveyed in 2017 none were developed by Wicklow County Council. Three unfinished estates have a number of buildings in it which are occupied despite the fact that there are building shells in the estate.

According to the report there are three NAMA developments left in Wicklow.

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English said that nationally there had been a 91 per cent reduction in the number of unfinished developments since 2010.

Minister English indicated that his objective is to resolve all remaining unfinished housing developments especially those within high market demand locations and strive for 100 per cent turnaround.

He said: 'In the last twelve months we have resolved 165 developments and intend to build on that success with a further push in 2018 to resolve as many as possible of the remaining unfinished developments.'

The report said local authorities were continuing to identify and acquire homes in 'ghost estates' - whether partially occupied or empty estates. However, in a change from previous years the report does not identify the potential number of social houses arising from unfinished estates.

In the future local authorities and Government will assess the suitability of available houses with regard to housing need and demand in the area taking into account the availability of services such as schools and public transport and existing levels of social housing.

Wicklow People