DLR Cllr Lewis: Plan to strip council power to deliver housing is ‘ludicrous’

by Gary Ibbotson

DLR councillor and housing activist Hugh Lewis (PBP) has expressed dismay over the reports that the government is considering stripping the power of local councils to deliver housing.

According to the Irish Independent, the government is considering handing the authority to develop housing over to the Land Development Agency (LDA) in order to speed up the process of construction.

This is in order to stop councillors holding up further projects by debating funding and demographic mix of residents.

However, ever since the inception of the state, the remit to build social housing has fallen under local councils and elected representatives.

In response to the report, Cllr Lewis says that the suggestions is “ludicrous” and the idea that taking the power away from local councils will speed up the construction of social housing is “shocking” and “utterly disingenuous.”

“It has precisely been the ideological abandonment by central government to construct the homes needed that has led to a now 20 year wait for a council home and no available affordable homes in Dun Laoghaire County.

“Their policy has been to instruct councils to deliver the majority of homes through private contracts and not bricks and mortar,” he says.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is currently in the process of handing over the site at Shanganagh Castle to the LDA with the intention of developing private and social housing.

It is understood that 600 homes will be developed on the site with about 200 earmarked for social status.

Three years ago, councillors voted to retain the lands at Shanganagh but earlier this year council executives announced that the funding needed to develop housing on the site would not be made available by central government.

Cllr Lewis says that the council is on track to deliver only 13 homes this year and believes “an emergency social and affordable house building programme to immediately start delivering the homes required,” is needed.

At the time of writing, a housing-crises protest is organised for the city centre on Thursday, December 5.

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