Fifty-five new homes were opened in two new developments by Wicklow County Council in Arklow today (Friday).
The official openings were performed by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr Eoghan Murphy TD, while Olympic Gold Medallist Ronnie Delany was present at one scheme named in his honour.
Heatherside is a 38-house development of energy efficient, 2, 3- and 4-bedroom homes while Delaney Park is a 17-house scheme of energy efficient, 2- and 3-bedroom homes.
Speaking at the event, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Irene Winters, said it was one of many official openings that will take place over the coming months and years as the Council vigorously progresses its development programme under the Rebuilding Ireland banner.
She stated: “I recognise the serious challenge we face in terms of housing and a critical focus and priority has been firmly placed on responding to this challenge by Wicklow County Council, through the development and implementation of the Social Housing supply programme.”
The social housing target for Wicklow over the course of 2018-2021, Cllr Winters said, sets an ambitious task: to deliver over 1,300 additional homes under Build, Acquisition, Part V and Leasing schemes added: “I am confident that this Council is committed, energised and mobilised to deliver on that ambition.”
Regarding Delany Park, she said it was named in honour of the Olympic Gold Medallist and former Arklow resident, Ronnie Delany, and she was delighted to welcome him to the opening.
The Cathaoirleach congratulated all the new residents and wishes them the best of luck in their new homes which boasted an “A” energy rating, low cost heating systems and zero emissions.
Mr Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, joined in the welcome to Ronnie Delany who won Gold for Ireland in the 1500 metres at the Summer Olympics in Melbourne in 1956. “It is very fitting to honour this incredible achievement of a former Arklow resident by naming this housing scheme Delany Park,” he said.
The Delany Park homes, he added, were located close to the town centre within safe and easy walking distance to shops, schools and parks. The new estate had been laid out in keeping with the adjacent Meadow Vale estate to give the development a sense of an integrated community.
Mr Curran said that over the course of the next two years, the Council’s programme was expected to deliver newly constructed homes for more than 400 households on the Council’s social housing list.
The Council currently has 18 Local Authority projects at various stages of construction and tendering, with funding of over €58m already sanctioned by the Department. A further 16 Schemes are under active consideration with a potential yield for a further 260 units by 2021.
The Council is also engaged with Approved Housing Bodies under the CALF and CAS schemes and with private developers who are delivering significant additional homes under Part V.
Wicklow County Council worked in partnership with the builder in developing the scheme as a “Turnkey.” This collaborative approach to delivery is at the heart of the Council’s supply programme and, of course, part of the strategy contained in Rebuilding Ireland. A further phase of 40 units has been approved by the Department.
Mr Curran thanked all involved in the provision of both developments, including the Minister and his Department, along with the Council’s own housing staff under Director of Services, Joe Lane.
Minister Murphy said the opening of the two estates in Arklow was a very important occasion with “houses built and people moving into their new homes.”
He paid tribute to Ronnie Delany whom he said was a very proud Arklow man.
The Minister also praised the work of Wicklow County Council Chief Executive, Mr Frank Curran, who as Chairman of the County & City Managers Association’s Housing and Building Committee, was driving the local authority housing programme nationally. Mr Murphy said 6,000 Council homes would be built this year and more than 7,000 next year.