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Report on derelict sites register in Wicklow raises questions on accuracy

Date: 10 March 2022

A recent report on the number of registered derelict properties and sites in Wicklow produced by the Department of Housing has raised questions from Deputy Steven Matthews. The report indicated that the derelict sites register for Wicklow as per the most recent figures; has 23 vacant buildings and 3 derelict sites registered in the whole county. Discussing the report, Deputy Matthews said:

“Addressing dereliction and vacancy in residential properties and potential properties is critical to solving the housing crisis. Before solving a problem, it is vital to know the extent of the issue in front of us. Anyone who has spent any time in towns and villages across Wicklow could tell you that 23 derelict properties and 3 derelict sites doesn’t begin to cover the extent of the problem and we are kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. You only need to walk around a see for yourself, these buildings and sites aren’t hidden, and they create a blight in areas across Wicklow.

“We are in the middle of a housing crisis and of course, there needs to be a focus on building and new units, but the quickest, cheapest and most environmentally sustainable way of increasing housing supply is by returning vacant and derelict units to the housing stock. We must use every means we can to increase housing supply – there’s no one solution but a range of measures that together will alleviate the problem.

“The recent funding increase announced by the Department of Housing that increases the funding for a Vacant Homes Officer for all Local Authorities is very welcome but the requirement for councils to employ someone in that specific role is vital. These roles will be integral in highlighting sites and properties and ensuring the necessary actions are carried out to try to bring these sites back to use.

“I requested this report from the Department of Housing as follow up research after the launch of my new Bill that seeks to tackle dereliction and vacancy through taxation of the owners of these sites. I will be releasing full details closer to the time, but it has been thoroughly researched and has the backing of several experts in the field of architecture and town planning. I look forward to the opportunity to introduce it in the Dáil and working closely with both my Government colleagues and Wicklow County Council to tackle vacancy and dereliction, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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