‘Those houses are our only hope’.. Housing applicants fears after developer goes into examinership
Concerned Navan housing applicants who have been on the housing list for nearly 10 years, say they are "worried sick" at the news that Blacklough Construction, who are building social housing on the Athboy Road in Navan has gone into examinership.
Blacklough has contracts to construct 363 social housing units across the region, 64 of which are on the Mine View site in Navan.
However, the housing body, Respond, said this week that the delivery of the homes at Mine View are on schedule.
The High Court last week appointed an interim examiner to the company which is currently working on developments for the Respond Housing Association in Dublin, Louth and Westmeath, as well as Navan.
The court heard an Independent Experts Report has stated that the company has a reasonable prospect of survival and that the firm’s difficulties have largely been caused by the unprecedented 33 per cent rise in the cost of building materials the industry has experienced since 2020.
One mother of four children who has been on the housing list 11 years said the news was extremely worrying.
"For the past four years, since the place we were renting was sold, we have been living with my parents. My partner, two of our children and I sleep in box room while the other two children share with my 18-year old sister. Mentally, I cannot take another year of living like that," she said.
"Those houses were our only hope".
Another worried housing applicant has been on the list for nine years. "We have been renting the same place for seven years and our landlord is elderly. It is a real worry he will want to sell the house.
"There is my husband and I and four boys and one girl. Our youngest is autistic and needs his own space. I was horrified and shocked when I heard the news," she said.
The Mayor of Navan, Cllr Eddie Fennessy said "News that Blacklough Construction has gone into receivership is concerning.
"Thankfully, 34 three bed properties on the site were allocated by Meath County Council this week. However, the remaining 30 units, a mix of two and four bed properties could be at risk.
"Completion of the development is very important for local families. Wait times for two and four bed properties are amongst the longest in Navan. Four bed applicants in particular have waited for up to ten years for an allocation.
"Another concerning aspect to this situation are Blacklough Construction's 48 staff members and the many subcontractors they employ to deliver social housing units. They face an uncertain future which is worrying.
"There's a lot at stake and a lot of families affected by this situation. If necessary, the state should subsidise the developments to protect jobs and guarantee the completion of this much needed social housing," he said.
Meanwhile residents of Moatville, which is adjacent to the Mine View development, have voiced their concerns about the boundary between the estates, lack of privacy and a large open drain beside their properties, which has been dug out by the developers.
Karen Darcy said that in recent weeks, Respond and the residents had come to an agreement that a wall and hedge would be provided.
"We felt we were getting somewhere. We were waiting for them to come to up with something in writing, but now we don't know what will happen."
Several weeks ago, residents expressed anger that a wall they had been promised when trees had been taken away had never been built and warned that a large open trench, which had been dug out by the developers was a danger to children.
A spokesperson for Respond said they are currently working to a timeline of mid-December for Phase 1 of the development to be completed, which would mean tenants moving in next January. The remaining two phrases are currently on schedule for delivery in the first quarter of the new year.
"On the boundary, our understanding remains that an agreement has been reached between the developer and neighbours. The developer is currently scheduling works and will advise residents on dates shortly.
"In relation to Blacklough Construction, Respond has an agreement in place with Torca Developments to deliver 362 social housing units across five sites in Dublin, Meath, Westmeath and Louth. Our understanding is that they remain on schedule for delivery in 2023, providing much needed social homes for families and individuals. Respond does not have a contractual relationship with Blacklough Construction," she said.
"Respond has been providing homes across Ireland for 40 years and have gained much experience and expertise in managing these processes.
"We are pro-actively engaging with Torca Developments on this matter. We understand plans are in place to deliver these homes on time and we are really keen to ensure that this happens as we know how much they are needed," she said.