Friday, June 11, 2021

All bar two of Carrigea Crescent’s 69 homes are now occupied. Photos: Joe Evans

WITH all bar two of Respond’s 69 new homes at Carrigea Crescent in Kilbarry already occupied, the Waterford-founded housing body’s commitment to building houses and better lives throughout Ireland remains resolute.

“The 69 units comprise of nine one-bed apartments, six two-bed apartments, 26 two-bed houses and 23 three-bed houses,” said Parag Joglekar, Respond’s Head of Development.

“Over the past 34 months, Respond has commenced just over 2400 homes around the country and what we’re trying to do is to facilitate construction and add to the housing stock not only in Waterford but throughout Ireland…Respond is playing its part when it comes to housing by working with local authorities and the Department of Housing.”

Carrigea Crescent is flanked by the Outer Ring Road and the new 3.1-kilometre Kilbarry Distributor Road, provided for via the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF). The provision of the new road prior to the completion of the development is indicative of a more cohesive approach to new home and services in construction than was the case in previous decades.

Speaking to the Waterford News & Star at the development, City & County Council Michael Walsh stated: “In the longer term, there are spaces for probably a couple of thousand homes here and Carrigea Crescent is an early part of what will be, in time, a much more extensive neighbourhood in this part of the city. The LIHAF road was constructed to help to open up this section and other areas approximate to this development in time and as a Council we’re looking forward to building a lot of homes here.”

Respond Chief Executive Declan Dunne said that the Carrigea Crescent project was indicative of the work the organisation was currently committed to on a nationwide basis.

“There are 1533 (Respond) homes in construction across the country today,” he said. “And our plan is to add another 700 starts this year and 900 next year so this is a particularly active time from our perspective.”

Mr Dunne continued: “To see a development like this completed and now practically fully occupied feels good. And the reason it feels good is because the need is so great, people are under such pressure. So you have to ask yourself where our new tenants were prior to this development, what were their individual situations in a range of accommodations, be they poor, overcrowded and virtually all insecure. The worry of where they would be just a few months from now is an incredible stress to live with, be you a single person or a member of a family. So to move into a development like this and to have certainty over where your children are going to school, that they’re going to stay in that school and that they have a home they can bring their friends back to and be proud of, that’s so, so important…In the greater scheme of things, Respond is not that important. We’re just one small player trying to do our bit.”

Carrigea Crescent was delivered in partnership with Waterford City & County Council, the Department of Housing and the Housing Finance Agency and was funded via payment ability from the Capital Advance Leasing Facility.

Said Parag Joglekar: “We want to add to the country’s housing stock by doing our little part and doing it was well as we possibly can. And we do that by working with partners such as the local authorities and the Department of Housing to deliver more and by giving security to people who have not experienced that feeling for, in some instances, several years.”

The mixed development at Carrigea Crescent, catering for families and individuals alike, represents an important mix in Respond’s effort to develop a deep sense of community within a new neighbourhood.

Mr Joglekar continued: “That’s a very important part of what we do given that we’re dealing with a myriad of housing needs in this country at present. That mix includes people with families, young adults, people with disabilities, professionals and older persons, all linking into to our overall vision of placemaking, which is at the heart of what we do. Of course, sustainability is also part of Respond’s vision so when you have a proper mix of housing it supports itself and it’s great to see the dynamism which help a community to not only develop but to embed itself into something which endures.

“And when you look at the estate here, it’s not just about the mix and the type of housing; the open space has also got to be taken into consideration in terms of how we can put such space to best use for the tenants. Creating a warm, collegial environment takes time but that is work which Respond is as committed to delivering as we are in terms of the physical construction of new homes. And that’s where our Housing Teams comes into play across all of our developments. Our work continues long after our tenants get the keys to their new home.”

When asked how pleased he was with the end product at Carrigea Crescent, Parag Joglekar said: “Oh, it’s always a dream. I’m an architect by profession so it’s always a great joy to see a project go from blueprint to delivery. We worked with developers and other architects and many other professional consultants and it’s always fantastic to see a project realised. And the best part of all is when you see people moving into these homes, when you realise that there truly is some meaning to what you are doing. And that’s what we always strive to do: to deliver projects promptly while ensuring that they will be viable in the long run, that the development is right for the tenants who are moving in and linking always with what the local authority is also seeking. And when all of those matters are addressed to our satisfaction, that is a great reward in itself.”

For further information, visit www.respond.ie  (With thanks to Helen McCormack of Respond – Sponsored Content)

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