Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle said that there is a need to look at “innovative” ways to “shrink down” procurement and tendering processes so that homes can be built faster.
This follows a report in the Irish Independent today which reveals that the government is looking to strip councils’ powers on housing in order to speed of the process on building new homes.
“The taxpayer need to know that they’re getting value for money so there has to be a procurement and a tendering process,” Mr Doyle told Independent.ie.
“We just need to look at innovative ways of shrinking it down a bit so we can get there quicker.”
He was speaking at the sod turning of a €1.8 million investment by Dublin City Council into eight social housing apartments in Dublin 8 this afternoon.
The apartments are a part of the charity’s first new build apartment scheme.
“We’re two years on the go here now and this time next year, people will be moving in,” he said.
“We need to narrow that a bit.”
Mr Doyle added that the charity is currently working on pilot schemes with other local authorities to reduce the process from two years.
“We’re trying different pilots were trying a pilot at the moment with another local authority, where we’re trying to see if we can do the procurement and the tender within 18 months.”
He said that the building stage of the apartments is the quickest part of building new housing.
“It’s getting through all those early stages and that’s what we have been talking to government about in so many ways- can we fast track the first three phases?”
Fine Gael Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English said that taking power away from local authorities is “not what anybody wants to do”.
“Local authorities are the key players of delivering housing. They have to work with our departments, work with national policies, work with governments,” he said.
“There is difficulty at some large sites that get stuck in the system for a number of years and that’s the sites that Minister Murphy and myself want to work with local authorities as to how to best can we progress this.”
“There are large key sites that need to move on a lot quicker,” he added.
However, Labour Councillor Alison Gilliland said that taking power away from local councils on housing would be another example of “our local democracy taken away from us”.
“I know the minister is probably very angry at the moment over O’Devaney [gardens] and our budget but it’s no reason to reduce our powers even further,” she said.
“From the council’s perspective we look at developments like this as long term and sustainable so we want to put the very best materials in, the very best design,” she said.