Tuesday 20 March 2007

Pop star under fire over social housing

WESTLIFE'S Shane Filan has been accused of trying to "buy his way out" of building social and affordable homes on a proposed development by a company he runs with his brother in their home town. The chart-topping boyband singer has come under fire after he opted out of the Part V housing clause when he submitted a lucrative planning application.

The singer and his brother Finbarr offered a financial contribution rather than include subsidised housing in the planned Sligo town development. In a letter to Sligo Borough Council, they said they would prefer this option when their company Shafin Developments recently submitted plans for a 63-apartment complex.

Part V of the Planning and Development Act requires all developers to give up to 20pc of all new homes in an estate to the local authority to provide housing for people on low incomes. Although it is possible for developers to avoid building the homes by making a payment, the omission of social housing in the Filan company's plan has not been well received. Councillor Declan Bree said the plan to build 63 apartments at the rear of Lisroyan House would lead to "social segregation".

Anne-Marie Walsh
Irish Independent

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