‘Unlock potential of the H2 in 2016’

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan.
Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan.

A radical shake-up is needed to end the social housing crisis in Derry during 2016, Sinn Fein housing spokesperson Tony Hassan has warned.

Councillor Hassan has now issued a call for the potential of the H2 site to be unlocked in the New Year to help the 2,400 local families and single people now deemed either homeless or in housing stress,

The proposed building of much-needed social housing on the H2 site at Buncrana Road should be brought on line without further delay and it could be used as a blueprint to tackle the housing crisis.

Tony Hassan

Meanwhile, the Journal understands that there have been some issues among some of the consortium involved in the original plans to develop hundreds of acres along the Buncrana Road towards the border at Bridgend. It is understood some of them have since been wound up.

It is further understood that some loan portfolios with regards to H2, plans for which were first unveiled almost a decade ago, have subsequently been passed to the Irish National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

There have been ongoing concerns over the past few years about the lack of housing progress at H2, which runs to hundreds of acres in size.

Derry & Strabane Councillor Tony Hassan said new thinking was now needed to end the social housing crisis in Derry.

In a New Year message Councillor Tony Hassan said: “We are now into 2016 and still over 2,400 family’s are in housing stress and in a homeless situation with hundreds of families living in temporary accommodation and overcrowded conditions.

“This year we will see hundreds of new homes being built on the Skeoge lands and in other parts of the city but this is still not enough to stop the crisis that we are in at present, new thinking is needed to get us out of this crisis.

“We need to put in place a strategic plan that will allow us to tackle the chronic shortage in social housing.”

Colr Hassan said it was now necessary to put in place a strategic plan that will allow us to tackle the chronic shortage in social housing.

He said: “The Housing Minister should bring his department officials together with the Housing Executive, Housing Associations in conjunction with local Councils. And bring finance to the table to create an imaginative strategic plan to help eradicate the numbers of people who are homeless in this city and in the north of Ireland.

“ In July I raised concerns brought to me if agreement was not found on the way forward around the future development of the site that some developers may just have to hand the land over to the banks it’s that dire. We need clarity on this issue as a matter of urgency.

“I have been campaigning for action on this site for many years and we need to unlock its potential and get the diggers and builders on this site.”