herald

Saturday 26 May 2018

€16m Poolbeg bridge approval 'holding up affordable housing'

The Poolbeg site is earmarked for more than 3,500 homes
The Poolbeg site is earmarked for more than 3,500 homes

The Government has been slammed for "weakening its position" by approving €16m for an access bridge to a Poolbeg development - before an agreement was reached on affordable housing units for the site.

Dublin City Council (DCC) and receiver David Carson, who is working on behalf of Nama - are locked in a dispute over the number of affordable units at Poolbeg.

The site is earmarked for more than 3,500 homes.

The council wants 350 social houses and 550 affordable units to be provided.

However, an agreement on affordable units will not be reached unless a commercial deal is struck. Mr Carson has appealed provisions relating to the 550 units, the council says.

An oral hearing is currently ongoing at An Bord Pleanala.

The site benefits from a €15.75m Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) investment to help fund a new bridge at the Dodder that will provide access to the development. According to LIHAF, the estimated cost of a three-bed unit there is €500,000.

However, it is unclear how much the council will be willing to pay per unit.

In a memo sent to elected representatives, DCC's Richard Shakespeare said he was disappointed at the decision made by the receiver to appeal the provisions relating to the 550 units. Mr Shakespeare said he understands the position being taken by the receiver is "driven by legal advice that it is not appropriate to include a provision in the Planning Scheme in relation to affordable housing".

He said that DCC has "agreed to enter into an intense period of discussions with the objective of entering into a binding commercial agreement" with the receiver.

Weakened

Labour senator Kevin Humphreys told the Herald the agreement will "come at a considerable cost to the taxpayer".

"They [Housing Department]weakened their position. The use of the bridge should have been a factor," he said.

The Department said last night it remains committed to securing additional social and affordable units at the site.

Local councillor Mannix Flynn said that councillors should be part of negotiations.

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