Eastwood concerned over cut to social homes plan

Photo Lorcan Doherty Presseye.com
Photo Lorcan Doherty Presseye.com

There has been a dramatic cut to the number of social houses planned for Derry.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said the north’s Housing Minister Nelson McCausland needs to take urgent action after it was confirmed only 454 new social homes are to be built in the city by 2016 - despite the Derry District Housing Plan 2013, published in June, detailing that 788 new builds were scheduled over the next two years.

The drop in the number of homes planned for the city was revealed in response to an Assembly Question from the Derry MLA.

Mr McCausland said the Social Housing Development Programme is “subject to change” and confirmed there have been amendments to the three year plan.

But Mr Eastwood, who last week revealed more than 3000 people are currently on the housing waiting list in the city, said questions need to be answered.

“The Derry District Housing Plan 2013 states that there are 788 new builds programmed between now and 2016,” he said.

“Upon further investigation it now transpires that only 454 new social homes are planned to be built by 2016.

“The Housing Minister Nelson McCausland must take urgent action to address the growing housing crisis in Derry. He must provide answers as to why the commitments made in the Housing Plan are not being delivered.

“He must put pressure on the Housing Executive and Housing Associations to progress planning applications for these schemes as a matter of urgency,” Mr Eastwood said.

The SDLP MLA added:“Even more concerning is the fact that planning applications have only been submitted for half of these new builds.”