The Housing Executive built 19 houses in the Lisburn district in 1998-99, two houses in 1999-2000 and two houses in 2000-01. As the Member will know, housing associations now provide all new build social housing in Northern Ireland, and, in the above periods, they provided 86 houses, 229 houses and 17 houses respectively.
Does the Minister recognise that the number of house sales is far exceeding the number of new houses that are becoming available at a public level? Consequently, will the Department for Social Development lobby the Department of the Environment in relation to the Belfast metropolitan area plan so that a portion of that land can be designated for public sector housing, given that the public sector obviously cannot compete with private developers in acquiring land, which is quickly running out.
I thank the Member for his supplementary question. It is a matter for the Planning Service, as the Member knows, to identify areas that are suitable for housing. The Housing Executive engages in discussions with the planning authorities and others about the appropriate housing mix for areas, and that will continue.
I note the Member’s point about the Lisburn area. As far as my Department and the Housing Executive are concerned, we are trying to build sustainable communities, and that entails a mixed housing provision, involving private ownership, social housing and co-ownership. I am convinced that that approach will, in the long run, provide for stable communities. It is for the planners to identify suitable areas, but my Department and the Housing Executive will discuss the appropriate housing mix for Lisburn, and other areas, with them.