Thursday, 12 June 2008

Local Levels of Affordable Housing a Sham

It will come as no surprise to local people, particularly those looking for their first home, that there is an acute lack of local houses available under affordable and social housing programmes. But the fact that just 17 of 753 houses procured for affordable housing in South Dublin County have been in the Terenure-Rathfarnham ward, which includes Greenhills, shows just how serious this is. The Council are in the process of procuring another 93 homes in the ward, of which just three are in Greenhills (Temple Manor).

I believe the limited “Part V Scheme” of the Planning and Development Act, which was intended to be used to ensure that 15% of all new housing developments would be for social and affordable purposes, has been an utter failure. Loopholes have been exploited to ensure that the social and affordable elements are relocated elsewhere, or as is very common, money is paid off to the Council to get around the clause.

In some cases, it has led to developers putting in speculative applications, such as at St Mel’s Avenue, in the hope that the affordable element will mean it is approved.

Working people deserve better than the speculator-led policy of the current Government. Labour believes in a strong-arming of housing policy and laws to ensure homes are available to those on modest or low incomes, and to eradicate the scourge of homelessness. I am committed to working with local authorities and residents in ensuring legitimate developments are supported, while continuing to take a stand against inappropriate development.