Wicklow County Council was highly praised for its housing policies by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin when he officially opened 31 new social houses at Ard Na Greinne estate in Bray on Friday, September 9th, 2022.
He stated: “Wicklow County Council is an exemplar in its innovative approach to the delivery of homes, using modern methods and collaborating closely with partners to build a solid pipeline and support early delivery.”
Mr Martin also said a number of Affordable Purchase Schemes are now coming on stream and he was delighted that earlier in the week Wicklow County Council approved the first Local Authority Affordable housing development in the county on Greenhill Road in Wicklow town. He understood these 36 homes will be ready early in the New Year.
The Taoiseach added: “I am confident that by working together and delivering more developments like this one, we will realise the ambition of Housing for All and deliver a sustainable housing system into the future, remembering all the time that developments such as this one are about more than just bricks and mortar; they are about providing sustainable communities and good quality homes, allowing people to live independently, confidently and safely in secure surroundings.”
He wished all the families and individuals in Ard na Greine the very best for the future, saying: “I hope you enjoy a long and happy time in the heart of this community.”
The Taoiseach also commended ABM Design & Build, the developers of Ard na Greine, for their work in constructing these high-quality family homes.
The Ard Na Greinne development is made up of 10 three-bed and 21 two-bed houses. All the houses are highly energy efficient, achieving a BER of A2 using high-efficiency air-to-water heat pumps, resulting in low cost in use. The provision of these homes is among many schemes being developed under the Council’s Building and Supply Programme.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, noted that the new houses were built as part of the Council’s Rapid Delivery programme, to deliver high-quality homes, within reduced delivery timescales and at a competitive cost. The development utilised an infill site within an established community which was sensitively designed to reflect the layout and materials of the surrounding communities.
He pointed out that the development is in close proximity to existing services and has an enhanced open space with a seven aside football pitch and a new community garden. There is increased public safety through the public safety through the passive surveillance of new homes over the public open space and new pedestrian paths around the development.
Wicklow County Council Chief Executive, Mr Brian Gleeson, said the 31-unit development at Ard Na Greinne was part of an overall social housing delivery programme that will see Wicklow not only achieve its 2022 targets but in keeping with the urgency required, achieve most or all of the 2023 targets.
He highlighted the fact that Wicklow County Council will deliver in excess of 600 new houses in 2022, through a variety of methods, in Bray, Greystones, Arklow, Rathdrum, Newtown and Wicklow Town. This successful Housing Delivery Programme was achieved through utilising an innovative approach, available resources and partnership.
The scheme in Ard na Greine was successfully completed by ABM in 17 months despite a Covid shutdown, utilising the Design and Build approach, a more efficient form of contract management which was a successfully implemented policy change for Wicklow County Council.
This will see over 200 units delivered by Wicklow County Council in Arklow and Wicklow Town (opened recently), Rathdrum, Baltinglass, Rathnew, Carnew and Newtown, since 2019.
The Chief Executive noted that the development at the Southern Cross, Bray, of 208 social houses will be completed in 2022. This, he said, was a large development constructed and delivered by the private sector which is being purchased by Cooperative Housing Ireland.
Mr Gleeson outlined the importance of partnership between Wicklow County Council, Approved Housing Bodies and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to deliver Wicklow’s ambitious Housing For All 2022–2026 programme.