A MAJOR social housing boost is on the way for Stradbally.
A plan to build 55 local authority houses in the town has been prepared by Laois County Council.
Council management has discussed the plan with officials from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. It is expected that the first phase will go ahead as part of the council’s 2018-2020 housing programme.
The new housing scheme will be constructed on a large site on the Carlow road, currently occupied by allotments, whose lease will run out next May.
Meanwhile, a planning application for 16 houses off Stradbally’s Main Street has been lodged by the BDS social housing organisation. The properties would cater for the elderly or those aged over 55 who cannot buy their own homes.
At the same time, the Clúid Housing charity is purchasing six two-bed retirement homes at Droimnín, bringing to 22 the number of social houses planned for older people in the town.
The news was given to the latest meeting of Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District, after cllr Paschal McEvoy asked for an update on the prospect of a social housing development in the town. He pointed out that 300 people on the housing waiting list have given Stradbally as their first choice.
Director of finance Gerry Murphy said council officials met department of housing staff to discuss the number of properties that could be accommodated on the Carlow road site. Department officials indicated that the scheme would probably go ahead on a phased basis.
Mr Murphy added: “It is a big site and will fit around 55 houses, maybe a little less or a little more. We are looking at the 2018-2020 programme for this.”
Cllr McEvoy said it was unlikely the council would get the go-ahead for all 55 houses in one scheme, but even a phased construction project would be welcome on what is probably the biggest county council land bank in Laois.
Cllr Pádraig Fleming commented that the county’s housing crisis was becoming increasingly critical and the council should pressurise the department to grant funding for the entire 55-house development, rather than going ahead on a phased basis. Mr Murphy replied that it was too early to speculate, but the council had not ruled anything in or out at this stage.
Welcoming the news, cllr Tom Mulhall pointed out that Clúid Housing has bought six two-bed homes at Droimnín and BDS has applied for planning permission for 16 homes for older people on a site just off Stradbally’s Main Street.
He said: “There are a good few people aged over 55 on the housing list, so those 22 houses are a big addition to the positive news on the 55 local authority houses.”
Housing officer Ian McCormack confirmed that councillors would be updated on developments regarding the local authority housing plan for Stradbally.