Almost 450 on housing list in Athlone and Moate

From a peak of 1926 in 2016, the number of households on the housing list in Westmeath stands at present at 1,119, members of Westmeath County Council learned at their March monthly meeting, held over the internet on Monday of last week.

Sharing the figures, council director of services, Mark Keaveney told members that the majority of the demand is coming from Mullingar (457 households) and Athlone (409).

In addition there are 47 Kinnegad households on the list; 37 in Moate; 25 in Kilbeggan, 23 in Castlepollard; 22 in Killucan/Rathwire; 20 in Rochfortbridge and 18 in Delvin.

The remaining 61 households are at other locations around the county. However, the list does not include those who are currently in receipt of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP).

Mr Keaveney said that the overall breakdown shows that the units required amount to 25 per cent having one-bedroom; 50 per cent having two-bedrooms and 20 per cent having three bedrooms, with a small number required to have four or more bedrooms.

As of the end of February, the council was providing accommodation support for a total of 4,150 households in partnership with the approved housing bodies and the private sector.

Mr Keaveney explained that there are 2,074 council-owned houses; 524 households are in RAS units which is the rental accommodation scheme; 301 are in leased housing units; 232 are in units leased from the approved housing bodies, and 1,019 of the households are in HAP units.

In terms of adding to the stock, Mr Keaveney explained that under the Rebuilding Ireland targets for Westmeath, 37 new-build homes have been added to the council’s stock to date in 2021 together with eight leased units.

Mr Keaveney said the outcome figures for the entire year are unclear at the moment due to the effect of the Covid restrictions on construction.

Projected is a new-build total for the year of between 130 and 190; acquisition of 10 and the leasing of 59.

2021 Plans

Continuing with a status update on the schemes currently in the pipeline in the Athlone area, Mr Keaveney reminded members that in February, an application for construction of a total of 176 social housing units at Lissywollen was lodged with An Bord Pleanála and a decision is due by June 15.

In addition, there are ten units due for delivery this year at Quinlan Park at Cloghanboy, Athlone.

2022 and 2023

Going through 2022’s delivery plans, Mr Keaveney revealed Athlone is to see 24 units at Greally Park in Arcadia.

For 2023, there are plans for 14 units at Rindoon in Athlone; four at Abbey Road in Athlone with five planned for Connaught Street and four for Thornbury Drive, both also in Athlone.

Summary

Mr Keaveney said that in summary, the council is currently working on 475 proposed units across Westmeath.

At present, 47 of these are under construction, 10 are at tender assessment stage; 176 have been submitted to An Bord Pleanála; 130 are at Stage 1 approved; 57 are at Stage 2 approved and 55 are at pre-appraisal stage.

Along with these, there are other projects being planned with the Approved Housing Bodies and the private sector, although these figures change regularly.

"But I think it is important to make you aware that there is a lot going on in the background," he stated.

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