Plans for almost 600 cost rental and social homes at the former St Michael’s Estate in Inchicore, announced more than four years ago, have been lodged with An Bord Pleanála by Dublin City Council.
Cost rental apartments for low and middle-income workers, where the rents are based on the cost of building and managing the homes and not market rates, will account for 70 per cent of the 578 homes, with the remaining 30 per cent to be used for social housing.
The council’s head of housing Coilín O’Reilly has confirmed “no private housing” will be built, following suggestions in recent days the council intended to include 91 build-to-rent apartments as part of the 578 total.
A proposal was put by the council to a meeting of the Inchicore Regeneration Consultative Forum last week to allow 91 apartments above a supermarket designated for the site to be built and owned by a private developer.
Independent forum chairman Eamon Devoy subsequently wrote to Mr O’Reilly stating there had never been any previous mention of this proposal and it was “totally unacceptable” to the forum. Local councillors also said they would not agree to the development of any private units on the site.
Following the submission of the application to the board, Mr O’Reilly confirmed there would be no private homes in the development.
“There was a gap in the funding for community facilities and one of the ideas we were working with was that the 91 units which would be above the supermarket would be disposed of along with the supermarket. But it is obvious people don’t want us to do that,” he told The Irish Times.
The 91 apartments would still be built as part of the supermarket development and the council would have to consider the best method of acquiring these homes for social or cost rental, he said.
Local Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty said he was now assured no private housing would be built on the site.
“I am absolutely confident that this will be a 100 per cent cost rental and social development. It is unfortunate that there has been a souring of what was a very deliberative consultative process. It has dented trust — more than dented for some people — but hopefully, now the plans have been lodged, that trust can be rebuilt.”
Designed by Bucholz McEvoy Architects, the complex will range in height from three to seven storeys. The residential buildings will be laid out in two plots around landscaped courtyards with green spaces for residents and play areas for children.
The cost-rental plans for St Michael’s were announced in July 2018 by then minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. In December 2020 the council said plans would be lodged with An Bord Pleanála in April 2021, but the project stalled during the Covid-19 pandemic.
St Michael’s Estate had been earmarked for regeneration since the late 1990s. It was one of five sites, including O’Devaney Gardens, to be redeveloped with social and private housing under a public-private partnership deal between the council and developer Bernard McNamara, which collapsed in 2008. In 2014 the council completed Thornton Heights on part of the site, a social housing complex of 75 homes.