Monday 22 May 2017

Connolly Station site among land earmarked for 3,000 new homes to ease city crisis

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister Simon Coveney

Land at Connolly Station and the Central Mental Hospital are among publicly-owned sites in the capital that will be offered to the market to build new homes.

The sites were on a list of State property which could be used to solve the housing crisis, identified in a survey by the Department of Housing.

It comes as the most recent figures showed there were 138 rough sleepers in the capital, a record for this time of year.

Land banks controlled by the four Dublin local authorities, public bodies including CIE and the HSE, and others owned by the Housing Agency, will be used to help boost supply and reduce prices.

Sites in Dublin alone were identified as being capable of providing 3,000 homes including at least 1,000 social units.

Expressions of interest from developers will be sought over the coming days.

Other lands on the list were located at Kilcarbery in south Dublin, near Clondalkin, totalling 29.5 hectares, capable of providing 892 units of which 30pc will be social.

Dublin City Council will also offer three sites on Infirmary Road in Dublin 7 (capable of providing at least 585 units); Oscar Traynor Road, Dublin 9 (minimum of 640 homes) and Emmet Road in Dublin 8 (minimum capacity of 420 homes).

Affordable

Another site on the Enniskerry Road, in Sandyford, controlled by the Housing Agency, is 2.8 hectares and will be used to provide social houses and affordable rental units.

Developers will be invited to build homes under a licensing arrangement where land could be sold, provided for free, subject to a long-term lease or arrangement where the land cost is repaid after units are sold.

It is understood the State would have to achieve a return for offering the lands, such as provision of new social homes.

Appraisals of each site will be completed prior to the lands being offered, to set out the maximum number of units possible. It is understood the survey is seen as something that has provided an "opportunity" to boost housing supply in areas of high demand.

"There could be a disruptive element as well," a source said.

"These developments could also force other developers to get building.

"This shows the opportunities. Councils will be asked if there's a plan for their sites and if not, why not?

"These lands were bought for housing and we want to see them developed."

The source said Housing Minister Simon Coveney was "putting it up" to local authorities and other public bodies to deliver homes on State lands.

"This is gigantic in scale and a once-in-100-years opportunity to get it right."

Local authorities will be free to dictate the number of homes for each site, and mix of tenure types. They could also set upper price limits for starter homes or other units.

Earlier this month, Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures revealed how the price of property in Dublin has been sky-rocketing.

The figures showed Dublin property prices increased by 8.3pc on an annual basis, with house prices up 8.1pc and apartment prices rising by 9.1pc.

The CSO noted that the highest house-price growth was seen in the Dublin city area at 9.2pc, while the lowest growth levels were discovered in Fingal with house prices rising by 3.7pc.

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