Sunday 23 October 2016

Councils identify four sites for modular homes while families are forced to wait

Declared site at Georges Place, Dun Laoghaire
Declared site at Georges Place, Dun Laoghaire

Dublin local authorities have revealed new sites for modular homes for homeless families including one close to the seafront in Dun Laoghaire.

Four sites have been identified as delays to building works mean 22 families due to move in to homes in Ballymun will have to wait until February.

Now two local authorities - Fingal and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown - have named locations for 110 units to be delivered and put up next year.

In total, Dublin City Council will accommodate 245 units, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown 50, Fingal 100 and South Dublin 105.


The move comes after the Government announced plans last September to acquire 500 modular homes to accommodate homeless families.

Correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act show Dublin City Council reported back to the Department of the Environment in late October outlining proposed sites.

Communications between officials show the first phase involved 22 units being acquired under "ultra-fast procurement" rules and delivered before the end of this month.

This was for the Ballymun site, which has been subject to delays, including protests.

The second phase involves procuring 128 units for delivery early in 2016.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has identified two sites, including a former council depot at Georges Place in Dun Laoghaire, close to the shore, and at Whitebarn Road in Nutgrove, Dublin 14, which will accommodate 50 units.

Fingal County Council has also identified two locations, with 40 homes to be placed at Pinewood Green Court, Balbriggan, and 20 at Wellview Green, Mulhuddart.

South Dublin Council County and Dublin City have not yet identified sites.

The third phase involves the delivery of 350 units, and the correspondence said there was a need for an "equitable distribution" of all units across the city. The costs will be met by the Department of the Environment. It has also emerged that Dublin City Council plans to erect 29 prefabricated homes on a site in Drimnagh bought in 2007 for €3.5m, but which included restrictions on its use.

The Mercy Sisters sold the site on the basis that it could be used only for social housing for the elderly, disabled and people with mental deficiencies, but the council believes the covenant also covers social housing for the homeless.

Other documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Mourne Road site was considered among "the most suitable" by officials.

The council originally believed that up to 36 units could be accommodated.

However, concerns were raised in an email to the council in late October by a local resident, who noted that the lands were bought subject to a covenant.

In reply, the council said the site was acquired for social housing, but the project did not proceed, due to the downturn.

"The council has applied for a variation of the covenant to use the site for general social housing purposes," it said. It later insisted that the proposed social housing was "deemed suitable for the purposes set out in the covenant".


The documents also reveal that council planners considered at least 19 sites before settling on five - Poppintree in Ballymun, where 22 homes are proposed; Belcamp Site H on Belcamp Avenue (38 homes); St Helena's Drive in Finglas (40); Mourne Road in Drimnagh (29); and Cherry Orchard in Ballyfermot (24).

Sites rejected included ones on Bridgefoot Street, Collins Avenue and Infirmary Road.

A rejected site on Fishamble Street beside the council offices was earmarked for sale to a private housing co-operative to develop three or four apartments.

Sites were rejected because of issues with zoning, location of gas mains, difficulties with ownership and a perceived reluctance of councillors to approve the use of land already in use as community gardens.

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