‘Waiting until someone dies’

PUP councillor Russell Watton
PUP councillor Russell Watton

A PUP councillor told a meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Council last week that people are “waiting until someone dies” to see if they can get a house.

Coleraine councillor Russell Watton was speaking as members were given a presentation by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. As part of the presentation, members were told that there are currently 2,490 people on the waiting list.

The meeting heard that the housing body will spend £22 million in this area in the next year, and that between now and 2018, 450 new social houses are planned for the Causeway Coast and Glens council area.

Cllr Watton stressed the need for social housing in the area, he said: “I got my house in the housing estate I was brought up in with 15 points, now you would need 150 points. There is no doubt there is a need for more social housing in this area. I know that people are waiting until someone dies in the hope that they will get a house.”

The issue of second homes was raised by Glens councillor Padraig McShane, he said: “Surely with the bigger council now we would have more power to encourage people to report.

The Housing Manager said that they were dealing with a case in the area. “There is no bed or no toothbrush in this property. I would appeal to people to let us know if they think properties are not being lived in.