New Donegal houses on way but ‘sluggish’ system slows delivery

These new houses have been on the go for a long time" - Cllr Gerry Crawford

New Donegal houses on  way but ‘sluggish’ system slows  delivery

Cllr Gerry Crawford at the new soon to be let houses in St Johnston

New houses are to be let in St Johnston in the next few weeks but the system that delivers them is sluggish and needs to respond to demand quicker.

That’s the analysis from Lifford-based councillor, Gerry Crawford this week as he welcomed the news that six new houses at the Cois Abhainn estate in St Johnston are to be made available to new tenants shortly.

He points out that now with the fallout from the Mica scandal affecting house building and an historic lack of houses, particularly in his end of the Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District, it is time to examine how best the house building process can be speeded up.

“It’s been a long time since any houses were built in this part of the Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District. These new houses have been on the go for a long time. Indeed I would go so far as to say the process of getting houses built here is sluggish.”

He pointed out that the construction of these new houses in St Johnston had taken a long time for a number of reasons, not least the pandemic.

“At one of our recent meetings it was mentioned that Irish Water may have had some issues which caused the delay as well but these have now been resolved.”

He added now was the time to look at how things are done at all levels and see how best they can serve the demand by speeding things up.

“Housing is one of the major necessities of our time and even more so now with the Mica problem we are currently experiencing and while I welcome the houses that are under construction in Meadow Hill, Raphoe, the 37 houses that are planned for Gallows Lane, Lifford and the houses that are to be let in St Johnston over the next couple of weeks, I think it’s important we move in a faster way to get houses for the people.”

Cllr Crawford suggested it was time to look at how existing planning legislation works.

“It has to allow planning to move at a different pace because the current pace from the decision to build, to the planning, tendering, construction and to the letting by the council takes far too long.”

He added this was in no way a criticism of the planning section at Donegal County Council.

“They work very hard and try to meet the deadlines as quickly as possible but the process itself is far too sluggish.

“We have to ensure it’s working as efficiently as possible in terms of delivery. The council needs to examine its systems to see if there is anything they can do to avoid any possible delays and if need be the department needs to make any changes.

“I would not be against an entire root and branch examination of the whole planning process at county and department level.”

He added that while he welcomed the six new houses the demand in this area was still very high.

“The council has made big inroads all over the district when it comes to purchasing houses but sadly not as much in this area. I know it will avail of every opportunity to meet the demand and if there is a suitable house on offer to buy, they will be keen to talk,” he said.

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