At the March Plenary Meeting of Kilkenny County Council, members of the Council’s Housing Delivery Team, Eimear Cody and Evelyn Graham, outlined to Elected Members the various projects underway around the County to deliver social housing.
During 2020, 183 new houses were provided by the Local Authority through construction, acquisition and leasing. Housing developments delivered in 2020 included Breagagh Place in Piltown, Nuncio Road in Kilkenny City and Hoban Park in Callan. Kilkenny County Council’s Housing Delivery Team is prioritizing energy efficiency, accessibility and variety of house type in its building programme with houses at Hoban Park, Callan being the first Near Zero Energy (NZEB) development in the County.
Welcoming the report on housing delivery in Kilkenny, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Andrew McGuinness, acknowledged the increased level of housing delivery which will provide permanent homes for so many families in our City and County by saying: “I am delighted to see so many properties being delivered throughout the City and County and the renewal of many buildings that would otherwise be left unoccupied and uninhabitable. This progress means that many more families will get the opportunity to have a secure place that they can call home and that, for me, is one of the most important things we can deliver as a Local Authority.”
Outlining the overall ambition of Kilkenny’s Social Housing Delivery Programme, Director of Services, Mary Mulholland reiterated the Local Authority’s commitment to deliver high quality housing to best meet the assessed demand for housing supports all around the County. With more that 37 housing projects either recently completed, underway or at planning and procurement stages more than 400 new homes will be provided in Kilkenny as part of the current Housing Delivery Programme representing an investment of more than €100m under the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Programme.
The Housing Delivery Team also outlined many projects underway to bring back into use vacant or underutilised properties in towns and villages. The Vacant Homes Officer, Evelyn Graham, has inspected more than 300 such properties all around the County and is actively supporting owners to bring properties back into residential use under the Repair to Lease and Buy and Renew Schemes. Where properties are not reactivated the Local Authority will serve compulsory purchase orders where appropriate to ensure that new homes can be provided. During 2020, 10 compulsory purchase orders were served on property owners in the County.
Cllr. Joe Malone, Chair of the Housing Strategic Policy Committee, acknowledged the wide variety of projects underway and in particular the variety of house types being made available. In particular, Cllr. Malone welcomed the delivery of accessible housing units in all the schemes delivered by the Local Authority.
Closing the discussion on Housing, Chief Executive, Colette Byrne, acknowledged the high level of activity involved in social housing delivery all around the County and acknowledged the contribution of Approved Housing Bodies, Property Owners and Developers working closely with the Housing Team to achieve high quality housing solutions and family homes.