‘We need more bungalows’

Tony Hassan
Tony Hassan

Housing Minister Mervyn Storey told the Journal that the issue of bungalow provision was something that was being re-examined in response to fears over a shortage in Derry.

He was speaking after concerns were raised by Sinn Féin housing spokesman and Greater Shantallow Councillor Tony Hassan.

Mr Hassan had called on the Department of Social Development and the recently installed Minister to allow all Housing Associations to build bungalow-type accommodation in any new build projects.

Councillor Hassan said: “I am pleased that building work on three sites in the city will provide another 300 new social homes in the Creggan and Skeoge areas, homes that are much needed for the over 2,000 people in housing stress in this city.

“Whilst I welcome the building of these social homes I have very serious concerns about the provision for bungalow type accommodation.

“There is a need for bungalow type accommodation for the older members of our community and for people with disabilities. If you need bungalow type accommodation on health grounds or if you are disabled, you have to be referred by an occupational therapist to the Housing Executive.

“It’s not the Housing Associations that are to blame for this situation, it’s the Department of Social Development .They will not agree to build bungalow type accommodation.”

Social Development Minister Mr Storey responded: “As at 31 March 2014, there were a total number of 21,781 bungalows within the social sector. This equates to almost one fifth of the social housing stock meaning the majority of need can be met through the current bungalow stock. However,

“I have been advised by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive that they are currently reviewing bungalow provision within Social Housing Development Programme schemes.

“Even though a restriction has been applied in DSD’s Housing Association Guide to ensure land available is maximised to its full potential, it doesn’t necessarily mean bungalows are prohibited where the Housing Executive can identify a clear need.”