Londonderry: Council bids to end house move-in date delay

Someone carrying boxes
Someone carrying boxes

Councillors in Londonderry have agreed to meet the increased cost needed to allow tenants of a social housing development to move into their new homes.

Some tenants were given a date to move into Woodlands Avenue, but that had been delayed.

Apex Housing said that's due to a clause which requires the development to have a play park and allotments.

Councillors agreed on Monday to cover the costs involved.

The requirement for the play park and allotments are part of what's known as an open space clause.

Derry City and Strabane District council agreed it will proceed with meeting that requirement and will provide the housing association with a "letter of comfort".

The letter details that the council has "taken the decision to actively progress the community element of the project and this is now fully funded".

Councillors say that will allow tenants to be given the keys to their new homes.

Much of Monday's special council meeting was held in confidential business, including the details of the costs.

A protest was held outside the Guidlhall ahead of a Derry City and Strabane District Council meeting earlier this month

Last week a number of residents held a protest outside the Guildhall in Derry - some said they are "living out of boxes" after their move-in date was pushed back.

BBC News NI understands that about 18 homes that had been allocated to prospective tenants are not yet currently inhabited.

In total, the new housing development will have 46 properties at the site.

'Blockage in the process'

SDLP councillor Brian Tierney said it was hoped tenants would be given keys to their new homes as soon as possible.

"It was very clear at the start of last week there was a blockage in the process," he said.

"We have now removed that blockage, and I am hopeful that Apex will be able to move in a swift manner to allow these people to move into their homes," he said.

Mr Tierney added: "I would hope that will be sometime this week. These people have already been through a very lengthy process".

The BBC has contacted Apex Housing Association for comment.