Westmeath County Council has confirmed the imminent development of a social housing scheme in Athlone.
Ten local authority houses will be constructed to the rear of McCormack Park with a timeframe of 18 months to two years for completion of the project.
The new estate will be called Quinlan Park, named after the late Comdt Pat Quinlan, a Kerry native who lived in Beech Park, Athlone, for many years and who, with his colleagues, heroically commanded ‘A’ Company, 35th Battalion, during the Siege of Jadotville in 1961.
Welcoming the news of the local authority housing development this week, Athlone Deputy Mayor, noted that the Council was making progress with regard to the delivery of social homes.
“Westmeath County Council has formally signed a contract with the successful construction company, Sammon Developments of Ballinamore, County Leitrim following the latest tendering process to determine who will build Athlone’s next scheme of local authority houses.
“The site in question belongs to the council and is an ideal location for such a residential development. Ten houses will be constructed with an estimated delivery time-frame of 18 months to two years for completion.
“The Quinlan Park development will consist of six three bedroom two-storey houses, three two bedroom two-storey houses and one two bedroom single-storey house. Site development works include vehicular access road at existing site entrance adjacent to McCormack Park.
“We are slowly but surely making good progress in terms of delivery of social houses. I have always said that building social houses on public owned land was the best and most reliable long term solution to meeting the demands of those in need of social housing and it guarantees better value for the tax payer.
“My only regret has been that given the previous government’s requirement for local authorities to satisfy a six step approval process with the department before a sod could be turned, we lost many years when we should have been constructing houses, but instead we were caught up in red tape situations.
“In reality, this development should have been built three years ago However, the new Housing Minister, Darragh O’Brien, in his ‘Housing For All’ plan has now put in place a ‘One Step’ approval process for local authorities and that is extremely good news going forward.
“We also have a healthy pipeline of council led social housing schemes in Athlone, namely Rindoon (14 units ), Connaught Street (five units ), Abbey Road (four units ), Thornburry Drive (four units ) and Arcadia (Phase 2 - 24 units ).
“The Brawny scheme is also in the pipeline with in excess of 100 houses earmarked for social housing. We are making progress, granted it has been slow, but the speed of delivery is now improving,” Cllr O’Rourke remarked.
The thoughts of the Athlone Deputy Mayor were echoed by Cllr Frankie Keena, Cathaoirleach, Westmeath County Council, who was present at the signing of the contracts.
“It was great to be present in our County Buildings last week for the signing of contracts which will ensure that a further social housing scheme will be developed and delivered for the town of Athlone.
“Quinlan Park, when completed, will comprise ten houses including an older person’s home and a residence designed to meet the needs of a family with a child who has special needs.
“Similar to previous developments these houses will have a very high energy rating with air to water heat pumps and are highly insulated,.
“Work is due to start very shortly on this €2.34 million development including VAT scheme with construction completion scheduled to conclude in December 2022,
“This is welcome news as it will help in some way in addressing the big demand for housing in the Athlone area. When this housing development commences in due course there will be four such projects under construction in Athlone at one time which is a major positive with further social schemes to come,” Cllr Keena concluded.