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Council may need to take over building of one and two bedroom homes as demand continues to grow

Laois County Council may need to take over the building of one and two bedroom homes in the County.

That is the view of Sinn Féin Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley, who raised the issue this week at the year’s final monthly meeting of the County Council.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald was in full support, as the two Cllrs pressed the point.

Cllr Stanley, who is Chairperson of the Housing SBC, spoke about a recent meeting with letting agencies, AHB’s (Approved Housing Bodies), and lending institutions.

“What worried me the most is that there was no appetite whatsoever from any developers to build one- and two-bedroomed units,” Cllr Stanley said.

“And when we look at our housing need, the greatest need is for one and two bedrooms.

“Under no circumstances will they (the developers) balk at this; they’re basically saying in terms of cost measures, they’d be better off building three-bedroom and four-bedroom units – and we can’t put single people into three- or four-bed.

“I don’t want to see us in a position where we’re left totally reliant on the AHB’s; I know some people might not like to hear this, but we might have to start looking at building them ourselves.

“That’s the reality. Because our demand is not going to be met unless we are building.”

Cllr Fitzgerald supported the proposal, calling the situation “a really serious issue.

“In the Portlaoise area, we already have a big waiting list for people with one or two bedrooms.

“The builders have said it: they’re (one- and two-bedroom housing units) not attractive for them to build.

“So we’re going to have a crisis – what are we going to do? Where are we going to send people?”

Angela McEvoy, Director of Services said the Council have a strategy in place to deal with this problem, outlined in the County Development Plan

“In terms of one- and two-beds, it’s really at pre-planning that we can encourage developers to put in those, and look for it as part of planning applications that will be coming in for assessment.

“There was recently an application refuted on the basis that there wasn’t a sufficient percentage of that type of home being planned for.”

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