A €53 million development of 240 social houses, the largest housing scheme built this year, has been completed in Mulhuddart, west Dublin.
The estate, built by the National Association of Building Co-operatives (Nabco), will be occupied entirely by families on the Fingal County Council housing waiting list, which stands at 5,000.
The development was funded by the Department of the Environment and is one of the last housing schemes to be constructed using public funds following the Government decision in 2010 to move from a building to a leasing model for social housing.
The Avondale Park Housing Co-Operative, which was initially planned 13 years ago, has been two years in construction. The one-, two- and three-bed houses and apartments, along with community and childcare facilities, have been built in an energy-efficient way.
The development is partly powered by 156 solar panels, the largest privately constructed solar power system in the State, equivalent to the area of 1.5 tennis courts.
Despite the large number of unfinished and unoccupied developments in the State, Nabco chief executive Niall O’Keeffe said there remained a need for housing construction. “There are 90,000 people on the housing waiting list and 22,000 vacant houses in the State, so clearly we are not going to be able to supply the housing needed without construction.”
The housing organisation has reached agreement with several local authorities to make use of unsold affordable housing estates and is also in discussions with Nama about getting involved in the completion of a number of unfinished housing schemes that have the potential to create hundreds of construction jobs as opportunities for trade apprentices.
However, Mr O’Keeffe said many of the unsold and unfinished houses were in rural areas where there was less need for housing and fewer families on the waiting lists.
“We are heading for another property bubble, particularly in urban areas of higher housing demand, if a sustainable supply of housing at an appropriate scale is not maintained.”
The new Mulhuddart development is being officially opened by leaders from the global co-operative movement, who are visiting Ireland for a housing conference which continues in Malahide Castle, Dublin, today.
Canadian delegate Nicholas Gazzard, who is vice-president of the International Co-operative Alliance, praised the new development and Nabco’s work in the sector.
“Co-operative housing provides homes for 20 million families around the world. The global co-operative movement is watching with pride the advances that Nabco is making for our sector in Ireland.”
Nabco has a stock of 1,800 homes in nine local authority areas. Nabco residents become shareholders in the co-operative for a one-off fee of €80, which entitles them to vote on how their estate operates.