herald

Monday 18 June 2018

'I was disappointed with RTE over social housing price', says council chief

DCC chief Owen Keegan
DCC chief Owen Keegan

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan has blasted RTE for not structuring the sale of lands it owned in Montrose to give some to the local authority for homes.

Last June, the national broadcaster sold part of its campus for €107.5m, more than 40pc above the guide price.

Owner Cairn Homes is planning to build more than 500 units, and while the council will be entitled to 10pc for social housing, they will come at a premium.

The site cost alone per unit will be €200,000, meaning the cost of homes will be well in excess of this sum.

"I was disappointed that RTE, as a public body, wouldn't structure the sale," he said.

"Before you build anything, the site cost is €200,000. We'll get our 10pc of social housing but for a body berating the State for lack of action in this area, I felt they could have done more.

"It will be very challenging to pay for that 10pc. We may have to get it off-site, which won't give us the tenure balance we're looking for."

Problem

In an interview with the Herald, Mr Keegan said that many new homes coming on to the market were aimed at those on high incomes, making them too expensive for many workers.

"Clearly it is a problem," he said.

"I'd be hard pushed to identify anyone in this building [the civic offices] on a single income who could afford to buy in the Docklands.

"Some are being bought by businesses and FDI companies. There needs to be a more broad-based recovery. It has initially been focused on the higher end of the market."

Mr Keegan also said that measures introduced by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to reduce the cost of building apartments, such as removing the need for car parking spaces and not imposing an upper height limit, were welcome.

He revealed that he can see a time when developers buy entire traditional housing estates with a view to razing them and building high-density units.

Mr Keegan also said that around 90 people were presenting as homeless every month, which was a "disappointing" figure, and it was difficult to say why the numbers remained so high.

He said that family hubs, aimed at removing the need to provide emergency B&B and hotel accommodation, have been delivered "very quickly" and families were moving on to permanent homes.

"There's a huge amount of activity. There's a lot of work being done to keep people in their homes but disappointingly, we're getting 90 families a month," Mr Keegan said.

"New housing supply has to be the answer."

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