HE funding concerns raised at council

Members of Banbridge District Council raised concerns over the funding of a double glazing programme organised by the Housing Executive at their monthly meeting last week.

Councillor Marie Hamilton told the meeting that last year she had received a letter telling her that the installation of double glazing in the district’s social housing was subject to availability, and that a similar letter had arrived to her office on August 22 this year.

She said, “Certain houses were programmed for this year, subject to availability of finance and delays. We had the same ending last year and we are still no further forward,” she said.

“There are 64 properties in Dromore waiting for double glazing,” stated Councillor Carol Black.

“With families struggling surely the Housing Executive will meet the financial needs of this project?”

Councillor Hamilton’s concerns were echoed by Councillor John Hanna, who said it was ‘crazy’ that the council would have to beg for the money to be spent.

“It improves sound proofing and the overall wellbeing of those living in the homes,” said Councillor Hanna.

“But I know the Housing Executive has been experiencing some difficulties with their funding. It’s not the local officers’ fault - we need to drill down to their headquarters.

“It’s not rocket science. Everyone has the right to a comfortable home.”

Those living in single glazed homes received sympathy from Sinn Fein representative Brendan Curran.

“I live in a former Housing Executive property myself and when it’s cold the wind would cut you,” he said.

“But we have to be honest - what are we going to cut to get double glazing?

“Hopefully it won’t come to that and finance will be made available.”

Councillor Hamilton added, “The problem is that the Housing Executive are giving people hope that things are going to improve and it’s being dragged out.

“We as councillors are being invited to energy saving conferences - this is people’s energy going right out the window.”

A call was made by Councillor Joan Baird to write to the Department of Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, about the situation.

“I know that their financial situation has seen them handed a reduced budget but the Housing Executive has to plan to do double glazing as it’s very important to many people. If the Housing Executive has not got the finance to pay for it then we should be writing to the DSD Minister to make our points.

“There is so much work to be done, but unfortunately every district needs to get this work done.”