Caution urged over plan for 3,000 new homes at Poolbeg
Despite the urgent need for housing, caution has been urged for Poolbeg as work begins on ambitious plans for vacant land in the area.
The new Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has revealed plans for up to 3,000 homes to be delivered on a fast-tracked basis.
Fianna Fail TD for the area Jim O’Callaghan acknowledged mistakes have been made in the past with some strategic development zones and these must not be repeated.
“Everyone welcomes the building of new houses and apartments but we must ensure that any development has all of the necessary infrastructure in place, for instance public transport and sufficient school placements,” he said.
“There must be a process of public consultation and full transparency about what the proposals are,” he added.
“[Adamstown] didn’t go to plan… There just needs to be more openness about what is being done, people need to be informed about what’s coming on,” he said.
“We can’t make mistakes with these proposals. Obviously, there has to be urgency but not without consultation.”
Transport links to the site must also be prioritised “urgently”, Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews said.
Plans for extending the Luas or delivering a BRT rapid bus route to the area have all been tabled as options for connecting the area with the city centre and beyond by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The NTA has included the projects in their 2016-2035 Dublin strategy which was published in April but had planned the extension of the Luas to take place at the “back end of the strategy period”.
A new bridge must also be built across the Dodder to improve local access to the peninsula. A waterbus option which would travel along the Liffey was also recommended in a previous report prepared for the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA). Extending six bus routes in the city out to Poolbeg is also a short-term option to improve access to the area.
However, the Herald understands that Dublin City Council will now pursue the Luas and bus upgrades in the area as a priority. In drawing up the SDZ (Strategic Development Zone) scheme, access will be examined.
The rapid bus route is likely to be included in the early phases of the development, with the Luas being delivered when the final phase of the area is being built.
“It must all come hand in hand and be developed in line,” Mr Andrews said.
“Integration with the existing communities has to be key and social infrastructure must be in place that will allow it to stand for our grandchildren,” he added.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan welcomed the plans for the site and called for integration with the local community on top of a new model of cost-rental housing to get a mix of people into the area.
“It reminds me of building out in the 30s in areas like Marino and we should be using that as our template to build really high quality developments,” he said.
“We need to improve the transport links and look at extending the Luas ... but we know it can be done.”
At the moment, it looks as though the new development will have a 10pc allocation for social housing, however, the minister is set to face opposition on that from various quarters.
Mr Andrews said “that just won’t fly with local representatives”. His council colleague Dermot Lacey said that he wants to see 30pc of the development given over for social and affordable housing.
“The most pressing issue is housing – as it is everywhere – and there is a need for social and affordable housing.
“I’d like to see a 15pc balance of social and affordable housing which could be delivered by the Ringsend Housing Association,” he said.
City planners are currently drawing up a scheme for the SDZ which they will bring to
the council in the autumn for approval.
It is hoped that work on the site will begin early next year.
The defunct Irish Glass Bottle site which was sold at the peak of the boom for €400m but remained undeveloped will make up part of the SDZ.