Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on Social Development minister Nelson McCausland to clarify the policy on providing bungalows and ground floor accommodation in new housing developments.
Ms McLaughlin said the current plans for new housing in the Glen area of the city, which will be developed by Apex housing association on behalf of the Housing Executive, does not include any bungalow provision.
The MLA said there is a clear demand for bungalows in the area and added this has been demonstrated by a consultation carried out by the Glen Development Initiative (GDI).
“The upper Glen area is a largely settled area with an older population living in older terraced housing. Some of the difficulties facing residents are that some are unable to climb stairs or have wheel chair access. These older houses do not lend themselves to adaptation for use by people with mobility problems.
“GDI hosted a further consultation prior to last Christmas and again the lack of provision of bungalows was raised. There is a perception out there in the community that there is an underlying department policy that bungalows take up too much of a land footprint and that costs are higher per unit,” she said.
Calling for clarification Ms McLaughlin said: “It seems that economics and costs are over-riding the needs of the older and more vulnerable people in our community. People with disabilities are being assessed as having complex needs and require specific types of accommodation; however, it seems that policy considerations are taking priority.”