herald

Sunday 18 August 2019

Housing hub builders cite similar facility in plans

The Haddon Road property
The Haddon Road property

The company behind the controversial plan to turn a nursing home into a homeless facility claims there is precedence after a similar proposal was green-lit in Dublin's Cabra.

Serious concerns have been raised after a company called Osdale Limited applied to Dublin City Council (DCC) to change the use of a nursing facility on Clontarf's Haddon Road into a homeless hub.

The company has sought a Section Five declaration in a bid to have the application listed as exempted development.

As part of its proposal, it has claimed that a similar application for a facility run by the Peter McVerry Trust in Cabra last year was given the go-ahead after being referred to An Bord Pleanala by local residents.

The proposal to change the use of the Churchview Nursing Home building was green-lit in May 2018, with 60 people eventually housed there.

The attempt to house 50 people in the 16-bedroomed Haddon Road facility has been met with some concern locally, given that it will be the fifth such facility in a small radius of Clontarf.

DCC this week responded to Osdale, a company which was set up in December 2018 and specialises in real estate management, to ask for additional information about the proposal.

Its planner wants to know which care-giver will operate the facility and asked for clarification on the nature of the care to be provided.

Loophole

The application states that it will be run by one of the well-regulated non-governmental organisations that have an expertise in running such facilities.

Clontarf Green Party councillor Donna Cooney described it as a "loophole in the planning laws" and expressed concern about the lack of consultation with residents.

Ms Cooney described it as an "adversarial approach" to the housing crisis and called for a more sustainable method.

"I would be concerned that this is the start of the privatisation of the provision of homeless people and wouldn't like to see companies being able to sweep in and make a profit out of it," she said.

"We are not making proper homes for our citizens."

Osdale now has three weeks to respond to the council, which will then decide if the plan does qualify as exempted development.

The latest figures from Focus Ireland report that 10,378 people are now deemed homeless.

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