herald

Wednesday 26 July 2017

'Bargaintown homes could be good idea', says Dermot

Dermot Bannon takes a selfie at the House 2017 exhibition
Dermot Bannon takes a selfie at the House 2017 exhibition

Architect Dermot Bannon has "no problem" with Dublin City Council's intention to house families in warehouses and office buildings.

The Room To Improve presenter said the controversial initiative has the potential to "create thriving communities".

His comments came following news of the council's plan to create 15 hubs across the capital, which are expected to house 600 families currently living in emergency accommodation.

Work has already begun on renovating a former Bargaintown warehouse in the Malahide Road Industrial Estate in Coolock.

Facilities

"I think people are focusing too much on the fact that families will be housed in warehouses and offices," said Bannon.

"If you build a proper community, it won't matter what type of building these families will be living in.

"As long as the location has all the right facilities such as shops, a school and good transport links, this initiative could really work."

Bannon said buildings can be "reinvented and re-used" for hundreds of years.

"If you look at St Anne's Park, there are old stables which are now used as a coffee shop. Collins Barracks has also been transformed as the National Museum of Ireland," he said, adding that imaginative ideas such as these could help to reduce the number of homeless people.

"We have a huge housing crisis and need to be more imaginative as to how we solve it," Bannon said.

"We should be concentrating on re-using old housing stock around the city as opposed to moving people further away from the capital.

"We can't keep on spreading our city out further and further away, with people having to commute two to three hours to work each day.

"Families are also travelling great distances each day just to get their kids into creche from 7am to 7pm.

"The Government should start focusing on our communities and making better use of our spaces in our cities."

Bannon was speaking at the House 2017 exhibition in the RDS over the weekend.

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