Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning Kieran O’Donnell joined his Fine Gael colleague Senator John Cummins on Friday last, 14th April in Waterford city to visit a number of social and affordable housing schemes, engage with stakeholders and discuss avenues to streamline processes with the executive team at Waterford City and County Council, led by CE Michael Walsh.
Speaking after the visit Senator Cummins said “It was great to be able to show the significant progress which is being made on housing projects across Waterford in terms of social, affordable and private. Outside of the major capital projects for Waterford, housing has been my number one priority and I have been working tirelessly, on a collaborative basis, with the council executive and private sector to deliver projects across a whole range of schemes in Waterford. While there are some who take the narrow view that only houses which are delivered via a direct build process are somehow worthy of being counted, I believe this completely misses the point because any housing unit which delivered to the market has a positive impact on supply”.
117 3- & 4-bedroom A-rated Affordable Starter Homes at Summerfields & Deerpark
Waterford city is one of the first areas in the country to be delivering a significant numbers of affordable purchase starter homes. It is understood that the 25 units at Deerpark are nearly sold out and sales are progressing well at Summerfields. Senator Cummins said “It was great to facilitate a positive engagement between Minister O’Donnell and the team at Whitebox, Liberty Blue, DFL and Waterford Council at Summerfields on Friday. Ninety-two affordable starter homes from €226,500 are available to purchase right now and it’s a great opportunity those starting out (or restarting) to get their foot on the property ladder. As well as an equity stake being available from Waterford City and County Council to lower the purchase price, the help to buy scheme can also be used which provides up to €30,000 of the taxes you have paid over the previous 4 years back towards your deposit”.
He added “The Help to Buy is an invaluable support for first time buyers and so far it has supported 929 Waterford individuals and couples to get their foot on the ladder. It is regrettable that every opposition party wants to abolish this essential support which is the difference between young people being able to purchase and not. Showhouses are now available to view at Summerfields and appointments can be made with Liberty Blue. If anyone wants any further information or assistance with the process please touch base with me directly”.
71 one and two bed Repair & Lease scheme for over 55’s at Manor Hill
One of the most innovative and progressive housing projects which is being delivered nationally is the Repair and Lease scheme at Manor Hill in Waterford City. Senator Cummins said “This is a project which I have worked with Walsh and Sheehan and Waterford Council on from planning stage, right through to completion. Shortlisting of tenants is currently being carried out by Waterford City and County Council and the project is expected to be ready by the end of May. This will have a really positive impact in terms of freeing up larger council properties for families and freeing up rental properties for other HAP and private tenants”.
“To rescue a vacant building of the size and put it back into productive use for housing is incredible and I really want to commend every contractor who has worked on the project. Waterford accounts 50% of all repair and lease units which have been delivered nationally and there is a very strong pipeline of future projects which will continue to deliver much needed one and two bed accommodation. Other Local Authority areas can certainly learn a thing or two from Waterford and I hope to get a cost rental version of this scheme piloted here very shortly”.
14 one and two bed social apartment scheme at Ostmen Place, Ballytruckle
While in Waterford, Minister O’Donnell visited a new state of the art apartment complex at Ostmen Place, Ballytruckle which comprises of fourteen one and two bedroom apartments. Senator Cummins said “I really have to commend Waterford Council, architects CJ Falconer and contractor Nevin construction for delivering one of the finest apartment complexes in Waterford city. The level of quality which has been delivered is second to none and I wish the new residents who will be moving in from next week all the very best”.
Senator Cummins concluded by saying “I have a number of housing priorities which I am working on at present. We need to see an affordable starter home development in Tramore and Dungarvan, as well as the continued rollout of schemes in the city. We also need to see the delivery of cost rental units in Waterford city and Dungarvan and there is good potential in this space which I hope to be able to share shortly. Of course, we need to continue to deliver on social housing targets which have been achieved in recent times, while fully utilising schemes such as the Repair and Lease, Buy and Renew and Croi Conaithe to unlock vacant and derelict units across the county.