A meeting was held recently between PCA and a member of the planning office who was conducting a survey on housing issues in the north coast towns of Portstewart, Portrush and Portballintrae.

Cllr Mulholland totally supports the evidence that these towns suffer from a lack of affordable housing due to the high proportion of second home ownership and the survey was designed to assess the impact on the communities and how rapid house price inflation has forced generations of young people to leave the areas to find a roof over their heads.

Cllr Mulholland has previously highlighted the acute lack of long-term rental availability caused by second home ownership and driven by a massive growth in tourism which has diverted land lords to the more profitable short-term letting industry.

She added ’This issue needs to be addressed and more landlords need to look at the urgent need for long term lets within these coastal towns and areas.’

Lack of available hotel space was acknowledged to be a factor in this due to up to 10 local hotels being demolished over the last 30 years to make way for apartments.

Some of the initiatives suggested by PCA was also supported by Cllr Mulholland and they include restricting new developments to permanent residents only, developments for first time buyers only, co-ownership schemes to help people purchase existing homes, and higher rates bills for second home owners to deter purchasing and fund vitally needed services such as car parking and new sewage systems.

It was also suggested compulsory housing executive purchase orders be placed on derelict or unused homes to fill the gap in the long-term rental market.

Cllr Mulholland fully supports the fact that the current situation is critical, and that urgent action needs to be taken. She concluded ‘I will be continuing to work with the relevant agencies, departments and organisations to help address this crisis.’

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