The following has been drafted by the Kilworth Village Renewal (Tidy Towns) group and has the support of the Kilworth Community Council. It relates to the formulation of a coherent strategy for Housing, currently in process through the Department of the Environment, Community and local Government. We are circulating also to the Community Councils and Tidy Towns groups in our locality and wider afield and hope to gather further support for the submission.
We fully recognise the seriousness and impact of the current housing crisis on the homeless and on those looking to secure adequate housing on a rental or ownership basis.
We welcome the Department's focus on the issue and wish to offer our support in seeking sensible solutions.
We would like to offer the following submission that we feel is highly relevant in the review and creation of the Housing Action Plan.
As community activists throughout the country, we are passionate about the quality of our local environments - built and natural - and wish to see these environments thrive into the future. A well-thought out Housing Action Plan can meet the obvious requirement of providing housing to those in need but can also have the effect of regenerating and enriching localities throughout the country. To this end, we see the focus on brown field, vacant and derelict sites as key to such a plan.
In the Netherlands, a nation with experience in land and housing management given the population and size of the country, an empowered and active authority ensures that idle properties are put into use - either privately by the owner - or else the local authority puts them to use in a social housing context. Such a policy contributes to a high rate of housing availability and keeps communities vibrant socially, visibly and economically.
Cities, towns and villages across Ireland are blighted with premises that have been idle and in various states of disrepair for years. We would welcome any initiatives and measures that would address this problem and put these buildings and sites to use by power of law. We hope this concept will form part of the solution in the Housing Action Plan being drafted currently by the Minister and the Department of Environment, Community and local Government.
Kilworth Village Renewal Group