CHI opens Ireland’s largest housing co-operative

The largest residential development to finished in the country this year, as well as being the largest single housing co-operative in Ireland, is to be officially opened today in Mulhuddart, West Dublin. The €53m development by Co-operative Housing Ireland, developed in partnership with Fingal County Council and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, consists of 240 homes in Avondale Park Housing Co-Operative.  It has already been partly occupied by families from the local housing waiting list, which currently stands at just over 5,000.

The development includes a number of measures to promote energy efficiency including the largest privately constructed array of 156 solar panels in Ireland equivalent to the area of 1.5 tennis courts. Also included within the co-operative is a Childcare and Community Service.

Adjacent to the estate is a set of properties also constructed by CHI for HAIL (Housing Association for Integrated Living) a housing association that provides services for people with mental health difficulties.

The new Mulhuddart development is being officially opened by leaders from the global co-operative movement.  Canadian, Nicholas Gazzard, who is Vice-President of the International Co-operative Alliance said “Co-operative housing provides homes for 20 million families around the world.  The global co-operative movement is watching with pride the advances that CHI is making for our sector in Ireland.”

Marten Lilja, President for Co-operative Housing with the European housing federation, CECODHAS said “More and more the focus for housing providers is on reducing the environmental impact of the homes we provide.  The impressive quality we have seen at Avondale Park today sets new standards for co-operative housing in Ireland.”

NABCO President, Declan Hudson, and Chief Executive, Dr. Niall O’Keeffe with Marten Lilja (CECODHAS) and Nicholas Gazzard (ICA Housing)

Co-operative Housing Ireland Chief Executive Niall O’Keeffe said “Because of our ability to raise private finance as well as work with social finance providers we have become extremely innovative in coming up with real solutions for the Government in helping to solve the current housing crisis as well as completing and managing unfinished estates countrywide. For us, housing always has to be provided alongside community development and today we are learning about new practices from the global co-operative movement.”

“In terms of world best practice for future building we are adopting the Canadian 2020 Standard, which is the gold standard of co-operative governance internationally. We’re also looking to international co-operatives to see how they approach the areas that we plan to expand into – housing for older people, waste management, renewable energy etc,” he continued.

CHI are also in discussions with NAMA about a co-operative solution to a number of unfinished housing schemes which have the potential to create hundreds of construction jobs as opportunities for trade apprentices. The housing organisation are also providing a co-operative option to a number of unsold affordable housing estates to some county councils which could add to their current stock of 1,800 homes in nine local authority areas. Earlier this year CHI announced a €20 million investment for the next 18 months for over 300 new homes in a number of separate developments.

There are 9,904,000 co-operative houses in the EU alone and the main countries are Poland (2,583,000), Germany (2,180,000), Spain (1,439,104) and Sweden (997,969).