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1,575 new homes planned as council votes to rezone industrial lands in the city

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Council chief Owen Keegan

Council chief Owen Keegan

Council chief Owen Keegan

Up to 1,575 new homes can now be built on underused land in the city, but the rezoning of industrial land falls well below the original plan to provide 3,500 houses and apartments.

There is now enough land rezoned in Dublin to build 52,000 homes, but all these sites are at different stages of development.

Dublin City Council has rezoned industrial lands scattered across the city to allow residential development. However, the scale of the plan was slimmed down after local objections.

The two biggest sites up for rezoning were in Santry, which had the capacity to build 1,200 homes. These were pulled due to opposition as residents were worried about high-rise developments and traffic issues.

The Department of Education had also said if the rezoning had gone ahead school places in the area would need to be reviewed.

Another large site in East Wall was withdrawn after the Office of the Planning Regulator said the land was set aside for an eastern bypass under Dublin Bay, which may be built in the future.

Of the 17 sites councillors ultimately voted on, 16 of them were rezoned.

The exception was the proposal to rezone the Greenmount Industrial Estate in Harold's Cross.

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A number of sites in Coolock, Ballyfermot, Drimnagh and Crumlin will have to have master plans before planning permission can be applied for.

The zoning on those sites was changed to mixed use to protect existing jobs in industrial parks.

The original 20 sites making up 55 hectares were intended to be rezoned for home building.

Assuming 100 units per hectare, and that half the land would be used for residential and the other for commercial, the sites had the potential to provide 3,000 to 3,500 additional homes in the city. However, from the original plan to rezone enough land to build 3,500 homes, the final number ended up at 1,575 units.

The primary objection from councillors was that most of the planning applications would go straight to An Bord Pleanala as Strategic Housing Developments, in which the council would not have any say.

The council's management said there was an obligation to provide as much land for house building as possible in areas close to the city. The big advantage is these sites are all well serviced with transport links, roads, water and drainage and are in already built-up areas.

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan revealed there was enough land zoned in the city to build 52,000 homes.

Meanwhile, the council also passed a motion calling on the new government to bring in a two-year minimum rent freeze.

Fianna Fail councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said it was even more relevant because of the coronavirus outbreak as people working in the gig economy, the self-employed and contractors were seeing their incomes devastated.

Fianna Fail's motion was supported by Sinn Fein, the Labour Party, Green Party and Social Democrats but opposed by Fine Gael. That party's councillor James Geoghegan said a rent freeze might result in more landlords leaving the market.