Housing list ‘is not getting any smaller’ despite new builds - Cathaoirleach

As the contract for the construction of 74 social houses at the new Millrace estate in Ashbourne was signed recently, the Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council said there were as many new applicants to the housing list as new homes being built.

"These new homes at Millrace are very welcome. They are a direct build by Meath County Council and they are very good news for people of the Ratoath and Ashbourne area on the housing list.

"We have a lot of social housing that will become available in the county next year, but unfortunately, the numbers who are joining the housing list mean that the list is not getting any smaller," he said.

The new scheme in Ashbourne is on a site at Castle Street that was previously used as a temporary school and was purchased by Meath County Council from the Department of Education in 2021. Work commences this month with a construction programme of 18 months. The contractors are KM Lynskey, joined by O’Mahony Pike Architects and quantity surveyors Mulcahy McDonagh and Partners.

Cllr Killian explained that the scheme consists of 13 two-bed ground-floor apartments – three of which will be specifically designed for people with limited or reduced mobility, 13 two-bed first-floor apartments, 36 two-bed houses, and 12 three-bed houses – two of which will have a ground-floor bedroom and bathroom to cater for families that include people of limited or reduced mobility.

The development will also include landscaping and play areas, and a pedestrian link from Castle Street into the new adjacent school campus currently under construction.

"Hopefully they will be built quickly and will take 74 families off the housing list," he said.

Cllr Killian said the demand for social housing was very high throughout the county.

"The area I represent is particularly bad and what is very worrying is the number of older people coming on the list.

"These include people who have rented for a very long time and now the properties are being sold. Marriage break-ups are leaving older people on their own without housing and the wait for single people on the housing list at the moment is ten years," he said.

"This is totally unacceptable but when Minister Darragh O'Brien was here recently he assured us that more emphasis would be put on one and two bedroom houses."

Cllr Killian pointed out that Meath Co Council will have a good programme of new housing units, up to 400 available next year. These include 42 at Lagore, Dunshaughlin, as well as 152 houses acquired through developers obligations and 160 houses currently going through the part eight planning process.

Approved housing bodies will have 380 housing units for available next year. These include Cluid houses at the Willows, Dunshaughlin, homes provided by Tuath at Maudlin Vale and Knightsbrook Trim and a Respond scheme on the Athboy Road in Navan.