The desperate housing shortage in Dungannon has been thrown into sharp relief by the latest government figures, which show that developers and landowners are sitting on 419 hectares of brownfield sites in the town, enough to build 7,254 homes.
There has been a dramatic decline in new houses built in the Dungannon District after the crash of the property market and the introduction of planning regulation PPS 14, which effectively banned new homes in rural areas.
Housing waiting lists have subsequently grown due to the shortage of affordable housing in the town.
However, the latest figures show that most of the land with planning permission in the town is yet to be built upon.
The figures also show that during the house building boom, a total of 3650 new homes were built in Dungannon town, using up 200 acres of brownfield sites, which is approximately half of the ground still available.
Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan said that it is essential for the Minister of Social Development to implement a strategy of social house building if we are to utilise the brown field sites in the Dungannon area.
“I understand the frustrations of having large areas designated for housing with no plans for construction yet we are facing a homeless crisis in the Dungannon area”, she said. “However due to the markets unless the Minister of Social Development implements a policy of building affordable social houses then I believe these sites will remain vacant.”