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Affordable homes scheme 'too costly' in long run

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Councillor Racheal Batten

Councillor Racheal Batten

Councillor Racheal Batten

Plans to build 853 housing units on vast swathes of public land in north Dublin by a private developer have been scuppered.

The price of the social and affordable housing on the development would be unrealistically high, said members of Dublin City Council.

A total of 48 representatives from all parties on council - excluding most Fine Gael councillors - rejected plans by the authority to sell land it owns in Oscar Traynor Road, Santry, to the developer.

The project has now been shelved following the 48-14 vote by Dublin City Council (DCC) this week.

Councillors did, however, support a motion by Labour that the site be developed by DCC directly for social housing.

DCC head of housing Brendan Kenny yesterday said the project was now "dead and has to be abandoned" despite the previous council voting in favour of the project in 2017.

Concern

He said it could now be another five to eight years before another development plan for the area went ahead.

But Fianna Fáil city councillor Racheal Batten said there had been widespread concern among councillors over the plan to sell the land to a private developer.

They feared the cost to build the homes would be prohibitive and no more affordable to buyers than homes available on the open market.

That is despite the council selling the developer the land, which is currently worth around €44m.

"The maths just didn't add up," she told the Herald last night.

Under the proposal 428 of the units would have been sold to private buyers while the council would acquire 253 units for social housing and 172 units earmarked for low and middle-income earners.

Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Callaghan said the price for the social and affordable units was too high.

She also said many of the private houses could be let out to DCC tenants under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme.

This meant the council could ultimately be paying five to six times what the units are worth over time.

"In the longer term this would be very costly," the Social Democrat councillor told the Herald.


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