Sunday 23 October 2016

Council says 'radical' plan for 1,300 homes will deliver

People Before Profit councillor John Lyons
People Before Profit councillor John Lyons

Dublin City Council (DCC) has said that it believes its ambitious plan to provide some 1,300 homes "will stack up and can be delivered".

The council also believes it can provide affordable starter homes under the new proposals.

The 'radical' plan to provide the homes in Dublin through the private market has passed muster with city councillors at a meeting of two committees on Wednesday, allowing it to progress to the next stage.

The homes will be a mix of private, affordable and social housing - with an emphasis on starter homes - and will be built by private developers on land bought from the council under strict conditions.


Housing executive Tony Flynn said that the initiative was designed to tackle the lack of homes, as well as problems facing young buyers who want to get their foot on the property ladder. He told the meeting that DCC planned to deliver two-bedroom homes for around €240,000 and three-bedroom homes for approximately €265,000 under the model.

"We feel that we can get much more competitive prices [than current market prices]," he said.

A pilot affordable rental model has also been proposed, which would allow people to rent homes for 20pc less than the market rate in the area, or 30pc of the combined household income, whichever figure is less.

Those homes were designed to aid those in the "middle ground that are squeezed out", Mr Flynn said.

"There is people falling out of the bottom all the time," he added.

In the short term, it is envisaged that the lands on the Oscar Traynor Road in Coolock can be developed ahead of the other sites identified - at O'Devaney Gardens in the north inner city, St Michael's Estate in Inchicore and Belcamp in Clongriffin.

The Coolock site has been selected as the area which can be developed with fewest delays.

There is also space for commercial units and, potentially, a hotel at the site.

The fast-tracked development could provide space for 655 units, which would include 74 social houses, 40 senior citizen and 79 affordable rental homes. The remaining homes will be a mix of private and starter homes.


A fifth of that development would need to be retained as public space, according to a masterplan previously drawn up for the site.

The plan is the most ambitious housing initiative undertaken by the council since the economic crash. It was also acknowledged that it was a departure from how the council had developed housing in the past.

"Heretofore, you went out with a parcel of land and got the best price… [this is] radically different from what we would normally do," Mr Flynn said.

Under these plans, a developer would need to agree to a plan outlining what types of units would be built.

Councillors backed the plan after a vote, but some raised concerns about the use of council lands for private homes.

People Before Profit Councillor John Lyons described the plans as "obscene", and queried why the sites could not be developed by the council as social housing - however, the management said that large-scale social housing has been shown not to work in the past.

DCC has said that it will need capital funding to progress, with an initial €8m to get the sites ready. More detailed plans for the the sites in O'Devaney Gardens and St Michael's in Inchicore will be presented early next year. The plans will now go to the city council in January.

It is hoped that, if approved, work could begin next year on the first phase of the builds.

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