Sinn Féin leader criticises ‘excessive’ number of build-to-rent units in Dublin Arch scheme

Ballymore project has too few social housing units, says Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has claimed that the Ballymore Group's Dublin Arch project has too few social housing units and an excessive amount of build-to-rent homes.

Last month, Ballymore lodged a planning application for the second phase of its Dublin Arch mixed-use scheme adjacent to Connolly station and Sheriff Street Lower in Dublin city.

The second phase includes four office blocks ranging from 12 to 16 storeys in height, as well as two other blocks containing 187 build-to-rent apartments.

The Dublin Arch scheme also includes retail units and 7,380sq m of public open space.

Some 19 of the 187 build-to-rent units are to be made available for social housing.

Last January, Ballymore secured planning permission from Dublin City Council for the first phase that includes a 42,670sq m commercial development including two office buildings, a 246-bedroom hotel, and space for 10 retail units.

The overall Dublin Arch scheme is to provide more than 1,000 direct construction jobs over five years.

In a submission on the latest plans, Ms McDonald has stated that she is deeply concerned about what she claims is the withdrawal of a key commitment by Ballymore with the number of social housing units reducing from 75 to 19.

“The developer must be required at a minimum to meet his statutory obligations on social and affordable housing and I would like him to exceed them.”

Ms McDonald added that “we are in the midst of a protracted housing crisis”.

Plan objectives

The Sinn Féin leader said the inclusion of the planned number of build-to-rent homes coupled with the provision of just 19 social homes does not meet the stated objectives of the draft Dublin City Development Plan 2022-28, which intends to limit the proliferation of build-to-rent homes.

Ms McDonald said the “excessive” provision of build-to-rent homes in the plans was in contravention of the Government’s housing policy commitments.

In his submission, Independent councillor and former lord mayor of Dublin Nial Ring has expressed concerns over the height and density of the scheme.

Ms McDonald also stated that there was no provision for new homes for Docklands Boxing Club and St Joseph’s O’Connell Boys GAA Club in the scheme.

However, a spokesman for Ballymore said on Tuesday that the Docklands Boxing Club and St Joseph’s O’Connell Boys GAA Club “will have their new homes in the Dublin Arch development and our planning submission documentation confirms this”.

Asked to respond to Ms McDonald’s comments concerning the provision of build-to-rent and social homes, the Ballymore spokesman said: “We also look forward to fully complying with the provision of social and affordable homes.”

A decision is due on the application next month.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times

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