Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson and SDLP Councillor Sean Mooney raised the matter following a Housing Executive presentation to the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee recently.
Waterside Councillor Jackson spoke of his ‘disappointment’ following a meeting with Housing Executive officials to discuss the Triangle regeneration scheme the day before.
He said: “That meeting was frustrating. It was disappointing and I feel coming out of that meeting we have taken a step back.
“The Triangle regeneration scheme has been a long time in the making. There have been a lot of false dawns and a lot of obstacles placed in the way.
“The Triangle regeneration scheme is an example of where planned maintenance could work and prevent problems emerging in the future. The reality is there’s homes that have been damaged as a result of the failure of planned maintenance and that’s something we have been raising continuously over many many years and we haven’t been able to get past the barriers that have been put in place.
“It was only very recently, it required a ministerial intervention to try and get this scheme back on track because again it seemed to have been left in limbo.”
Councillor Jackson spoke about damage that had been caused to homes of owner occupiers.
“One of the disappointing elements of the meeting was that as part of the regeneration scheme there is a significant proportion of it involves owner occupiers and those owner occupiers have been shouting very loudly that their properties have been damaged by a lack of planned maintenance by the Housing Executive,” added the Deputy Mayor.
“They purchased those properties in good faith, they purchased those properties with the understanding that the people responsible for the building was a competent authority but unfortunately their experience to date of upwards of 20 years has led them to state their experience has been a negative one.
“From discussions I have been having with Housing Executive officials and conversations with residents in the Triangle area, it’s very clear that their needs have been overlooked. The very fact their properties have been damaged by the inaction of the Housing Executive has been overlooked.”
The Sinn Fein councillor called for the Housing Executive to look at the scheme again with a different approach.
“I’m asking that it is looked at again and looked at with a solution focussed approach; That we look at solutions and don’t look at barriers or reasons not to do things and we take into serious consideration the damage that has been caused to so many properties over so many years by the failure to address a widely acknowledged problem that existed.
“I’m appealing to the Housing Executive to try and come up with a solution that’s going to work for those who have called the Triangle their home for the last 30 years.”
Responding to the councillor’s comments, Ms Long said: “Please rest assured this is a priority for me. I have already been to the Triangle and I have been into the homes and visited myself and I was very happy to do that.
“It is without question something we need to solve. We have to figure out the right funding solution to this and rest assured I take my responsibility to the Housing Executive tenants in Waterside Triangle very seriously.
“We are in solutions mode on this and it is my intention to find a solution to this and act urgently.”
Local Democracy Reporter