The contract for a 33-unit housing development at Arcadia was signed yesterday (Wednesday ) at Athlone Civic Centre.
The development is part of the council’s plan under ‘Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’, and comprises of a mix of two, three and four bedroom family units.
The successful tender has been awarded to Glenman Corporation Ltd of Merrion House, Liosban Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway. The value of the contract signed on Wednesday is €6m.
Construction on site shall commence in the very near future following completion of appropriate preliminaries by Glenman Corporation, and it is estimated that the project will take 18 months to complete.
The development has been in the planning since 2015 and originally received the green light in February last year. However, in January this year it was announced that the chosen contractor had been forced to withdraw from the project due to an unforeseen increase in costs.
Present at the contract signing on behalf of Westmeath County Council on Wednesday were Pat Gallagher, chief executive, Cllr Tom Farrell, Leas Cathaoirleach, Mayor Aengus O’Rourke and David Hogan, director of housing.
Speaking prior to the launch, Mayor Aengus O’Rourke welcomed the development, but was adamant that more needs to be done to tackle the ever worsening housing crisis.
“In my eyes this has taken way too long,” Mayor O’Rourke said. “While it is welcome it is still only a drop in the ocean in terms of the social housing emergency we are in. The crisis seems to have defeated the Government, with no new dynamic thinking emerging from Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, which is a real disappointment.
“We as a local authority depend on the Government to come up, on the one hand, with funding to support our social housing endeavours, but also to come up with initiatives that enable us to tackle the social housing crisis locally. Those initiatives and the necessary thinking does not seem to be there from a Government point of view.”
Delivery of this new project is part of ambitious plans the council has to deliver 850 units in the period from 2017 to 2021.