Repurchase scheme, energy refurbishments and an invitation to SpunOut

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Working on the ground listening to the issues raised through her day to day contact with voters in Tallaght Central Councillor Maire Devine regularly puts questions and motions to the South Dublin County manager.

Below are questions on the future of the House Purchase Schemes, the schedule of works this year in the Energy Rating programme, and a motion calling on the council to invite SpunOut to make a presentation to council members on the work of their organisation. SpunOut is an independent, youth led national charity working to empower young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to create personal and social change.

The questions and motion were put on 14th January 2013

The future of House Purchase Schemes

QUESTION: Councillor M. Devine: To ask that the Manager give a report on the future of House Purchase Schemes for this Local Authority from 2013?

REPLY:

The current Tenant Purchase Scheme (1995) expired on the 31st December 2012 ie all applications to purchase under this scheme must have beem made by 31/12/2012.

Applications received under the 2011 Fixed Term Tenant Purchase Scheme (applications accepted up to 31/12/2011) are still being processed.  In accordance with recent decision of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, all sales under this scheme must be completed on or before 30/6/2013.

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government has advised of the intention to introduce a new scheme providing for the sale of local authority houses to tenants on incremental purchase principles (based on household income rather than length of tenancy). The objective of the scheme is to provide an affordable route to home ownership for households and to enable the State to share in the profits from resale during the 20 to 30 year period for which the house is subject to an incremental purchase charge.

It is envisaged that the scheme will be in place from 1 July 2013, subject to the necessary legislation being in place.

Invitation to SpunOut

MOTION NO.6 Councillor M. Devine: That this Council extends an invite to “SpunOut” requesting that they make a presentation about their organisation to the members in an agreed format / setting

REPORT:

SpunOut is an independent, youth led national charity working to empower young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to create personal and social change. Through their website, SpunOut provides an interactive online community for young people to consume health and lifestyle information and find out about health and advice services available to them in their area, online or over the phone. SpunOut.ie also acts as an online space for young people to share their views and opinions by writing articles for the site or by commenting on pieces written by other young people. SpunOut.ie has reached over 386,000 unique Irish users online since its launch, millions more through the media and has won numerous awards including a Golden Spider Award and a Net Visionary Award.

SpunOut also runs a number of offline events including an annual Academy, which provides free practical ‘tools for change’ training, a ‘SpunOut Super Heroes’ mini grants scheme, and the ‘SpunOut Youth Summit’. These events are an opportunity for young people to come together, get informed, inspired and organised.

Should the motion be agreed, an invitation will issue to “SpunOut” requesting that a presentation be made to the Arts, Culture, Gaeilge, Education and Libraries Strategic Policy Committee about their organisation.

Schedule of refurbishments under the Energy Rating Programme

QUESTION: Councillor M. Devine: To ask that the Manager provide details on the projected number of units that are to be refurbished within the Energy Rating programme in 2013 and provide a schedule of these proposed works?

REPLY:

There are currently three strands of energy upgrading programmes:

1.    (A)   Relets – Energy upgrading of vacant dwellings:    This work is carried out by Housing Maintenance on an individual dwelling basis according as each dwelling becomes vacant.  The energy upgrading element is part funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and is dependent on the amount of kWh/sq. metres saved per year.  43 houses were upgraded under this funding in 2012.  It is anticipated that a similar number will be upgraded in 2013.

       (B)   Energy Upgrading of tenanted SDCC dwellings:   External fabric upgrading of 6 SDCC dwellings at 1,2,3,6,7 and 8 Tara Hill Grove, Rathfarnham.  The work included external insulation and render finish system and remedial roof work including insulation.  Other works included replacement of windows and external doors (where required) and replacement of boilers with high efficiency condensing boilers and upgrading of heating.  This was also part funded by the DOECLG based on kWh/sq. metres saved per year.  Applications will be made to the Department for similar work in 2013.

2.     SEAI Delivering Energy Efficiency improvements to low income housing – Area based Pilot Fund 2012 –  This was a response to a Programme launched by the SEAI in the middle of 2012  within a very short timeframe.  SDCC partnered Retrofit Energy Ireland Ltd for this pilot programme for works to a cluster of 43 dwellings which included privately owned and SDCC rented dwellings.  SEAI approved funding of €159,795 for fuel poor homes, which amounted to 80% of the cost of the works.  There were 35 SDCC tenanted dwellings involved and SDCC agreed to provide matching funding of 18% of the cost of the works to SDCC dwellings only, which included fuel poor and non fuel poor homes.  These works commenced in September and were completed on 15th November.  The work included new cavity wall insulation, additional attic insulation, upgrading of central heating, lagging to hot water cylinder, replacement of windows where identified by REIL  and draught proofing.  If this programme is repeated in 2013, as is likely to be the case, SDCC will once again make a bid and the scale of the bid will depend on the grant/funding levels available in the SEAI programme, as matching funds are likely to be required from SDCC.

3.      Refurbishment Phase 3 Greenfort Shancastle 74 dwellings:   This is a Contracted Programme funded by the DOECLG which contains energy upgrading elements.  This contract started in May 2012 and is scheduled for completion in October 2013.  The energy upgrading works include replacement of windows and external doors, cavity wall insulation where none exists, insulation of attic voids, upgrading existing heating systems and draught sealing works.  The aim is to achieve a BER rating of C1 where possible.  Other works include:  Replacement of electrical installation, kitchen units, miscellaneous internal repairs/replacements; doors, stair banisters, service ducts, floor coverings, fireplaces.  Miscellaneous external repairs/replacements; timberwork, gutters, drainage, ridges, fuel shed roofs and doors, frames.  External and internal decoration and reinstatement of boundaries where applicable.  It is unlikely that DOECLG funding will be available in 2013 for Refurbishment Phase 4 but surveys will be carried out during the year in order to submit a proposal for funding to complete the refurbishment of both Cushlawn and Greenfort Shancastle Estates in 2014.

In addition the Council has a Windows and Doors programme in place for the past 3 years which also improves the energy rating of the units and there is provision in the adopted budget for 2013 for a continuation of this programme.

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