Thursday, 20th September 2018
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‘Living Cities’ Bill aims to bring life back to city and town centres 5,194 vacant houses in County Waterford in 2018, according to CSO The Green Party have called on the Government to tackle the vacancy and dereliction rates in Waterford, as they launched their Living Cities Bill 2017, aimed at bringing life back to city and town centres, discourage land hoarding, and tackle dereliction and vacancy.

Speaking today, Senator Grace O'Sullivan said: "It is absolute madness that we have a situation in Ireland where we have 27 empty homes for every one person in emergency accommodation. We also have significant issues with dereliction, and land hoarding by developers. This needs to change quickly.

"We have 5,194 empty houses here in Waterford County, with 198,358 empty nationwide, according to the CSO. This number doesn’t include derelict buildings, and doesn’t measure the potential housing units that could be developed on vacant land in city and town centres.

"Waterford Council has 21 properties on its register of vacant sites, which means these sites will be charged a levy from next year. Waterford has been more proactive than many other councils in registering vacant sites but more needs to be done.

"We need to start bringing life back into the centre of our towns and cities. Through installing units above shops, refurbishing derelict buildings, and tackling land hoarding. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Living Cities Bill," explains Senator O’Sullivan.

"The aims of this Bill are simple and have the potential to instigate meaningful change. The bill aims to remove the minimum site size from the current vacancy legislation, which is currently set at larger than a basketball court, which rules out a huge number of sites. This would bring far more vacant and derelict sites under the scope of the legislation. There is a real opportunity here. The country is full of empty buildings and vacant sites. These dwellings are pre-existing infrastructure and returning them back to a usable condition would go a long way not just towards providing more cost-effective solutions to tackle the crisis but would also be of benefit in terms of reinvigorating communities."

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