Number of unfinished housing estates throughout the State now stands at 992

Minister of State for Housing says total number of incomplete developments has been reduced from nearly 3,000 in 2010

Parkton Mews in Enniscorthy, which was on eof the estates inspected in 2014. Photograph: Housing Agency/Department of the Environment

Parkton Mews in Enniscorthy, which was on eof the estates inspected in 2014. Photograph: Housing Agency/Department of the Environment

 

Some 992 housing developments throughout the State remain unfinished, a reduction of almost two thirds on the 2010 figure of just under 3,000.

Minister of State for Housing Paudie Coffey published the third annual progress report on tackling the issue of unfinished housing developments on Monday.

The 2014 National Housing Development Survey tracks progress since 2010.

Mr Coffey said some 1,263 developments were inspected in 2014. Of these, 992 would remain on the unfinished housing developments database. Some 271 of those inspected were considered substantially complete.

With the aid of a €10 million Special Resolution Funding Scheme, another 74 of these should be resolved in the coming months to reduce the total figure to 918.

Some 226 (23 per cent) of the total 992 estates remain completely unoccupied. A total of 30,709 homes within the total are described as complete and occupied; 4,453 are complete and vacant; 12,027 are in ‘various stages of completion’ and 29,168 units have not yet been started.

Cork county has the highest number of unfinished developments, at 130 (13 per cent) of the total 992. The four Dublin local authority areas account for 53 (5.3 per cent) of the total.

Kerry has 67 unfinished estates, Donegal 64, Roscommon 53, Wexford 52, Cavan 51, Tipperary North 49 and Leitrim 38.

The report says inspections recorded the first increase in construction activity on unfinished developments in four years.

Mr Coffey said his objective was to resolve as many more developments as possible with a particular focus on the 766 of these developments which have residents.

The minister said the process was complex, both technically and legally. Some parts of houses had been knocked down to clear sites, but he did not classify these as demolitions.

“Certainly I don’t want to see any completed houses demolished at all.”

Some of the 271 resolved sites had had parts of unfinished houses, such as gable walls, removed. But this was in circumstances where they would never have been completed anyway.

But Mr Coffey said people were “looking more at extracting the value out of what they have than demolishing at this stage”.

Funding for what was initially established as a public safety initiative to ensure developments were made safe from a health and safety perspective had now been discontinued. There had been “substantive progress” on this front following the introduction of that emergency measure by the Government, Mr Coffey said.

With regard to the timeframe for completing the remaining 992 unfinished estates, Mr Coffey said the progress over four years should indicate the Government was “genuinely determined to have these sites resolved”.

For what was “considerably small money” in comparison to the complex problems that existed, “huge progress” had been made, he said.

He did not want to raise expectations by giving time limits on something that was very complex, for reasons that included water treatment issues, legal reasons and also planning issues.

“None of those are an exact science and I’m not going to be raising anybody’s expectations by giving specific timelines.

“But what I will say, is it will demand and it will be given my total focus and determination to continue making progress and the same goes for all the people that are involved in this.”

Officials indicated a number of estates will be finished in January and February.