200 Galliagh homes ‘step in right direction’: Eastwood

Colum Eastwood.

Colum Eastwood.

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Approval for plans to build 200 social houses in Galliagh will be an important step in tackling Derry’s housing crisis, SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has said.

Derry City Council is expected to formally approve a planning application from Apex Housing Association next week.

The application to build 197 homes adjacent to the Skeoge Link Road and Lower Galliagh Road will come before the Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday.

Mr Eastwood, who is chair of the Assembly’s All Party Group on Housing, said the new homes will help some of the 3,000 people currently suffering housing stress in the city.

“The plans have been backed locally by the SDLP which has worked hard to ensure they get the green light without undue delay,” he said. “The building of these homes will be a welcome step in the right direction in tackling Derry’s very real housing crisis. It will also provide a welcome boost to the local construction industry.

“It’s important that other proposals in the Derry District Housing Plan and Local Housing Strategy 2014/2015 - which includes plans for almost 1,200 homes - are progressed without delay to end the long wait of those most in need,” he said.

Mr Eastwood added: “More than 50% of people who call to my constituency office in Shantallow present with issues relating to housing stress and I am all too aware that behind the alarming statistics are real people suffering very real stress.”

Shantallow SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said the success of the planning application would give hope to many families on the social housing waiting list.

He said: “Almost daily I’m approached by families who are at their wits’ end over housing issues. I hear stories of children growing up in over-crowded temporary accommodation and being forced to move from home to home and to different schools while parents live in constant uncertainty.

“These 197 new homes will generate massive interest among a lot of people living in that situation. I look forward to the completion of the scheme as it will bring the long wait for a significant number of those worst affected to an end.”