Council approves 900-home plan in Clondalkin despite opposition

Development was opposed by left-leaning parties over affordability concerns

Housing activists opposed to major Clondalkin housing scheme protest ahead of South Dublin County Council meeting. Photograph: Jack Power

Housing activists opposed to major Clondalkin housing scheme protest ahead of South Dublin County Council meeting. Photograph: Jack Power

 

South Dublin County Council has voted to approve a plan for nearly 1,000 homes in southwest Dublin, despite opposition from Sinn Féin, Solidarity and People Before Profit.

The local authority voted on Monday by 20 to 16 to approve the plan, which would develop a large housing estate in Kilcarbery, near Clondalkin.

South Dublin County Council owns the land, which would be developed by a private home builder.

Some 30 per cent of the 975 housing units will be allocated for social housing and owned by the local authority.

The remaining 681 homes will be sold by the developer. Under the proposal, the first phase of 168 homes would be built by 2020 and the entire project completed by 2023.

The developer selected for the project following a competitive tender process is Adwood. The development on the 72-acre site will include 621 houses and 354 apartment units.

The developer agreed to pay the local authority €38 million for the land, which the council said it would reinvest into other housing projects.

A number of people, including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, protested outside the council chamber, calling for the plan to be rejected.

At the council meeting, Cllr Mick Murphy (Solidarity) said the proposal “had to be stopped” and replaced with an alternative development comprising 60 per cent social and 40 per cent affordable housing.

South Dublin mayor Mark Ward of Sinn Féin said his party would also be opposing the development, as the plans had not incorporated a sufficient affordable element.

Political football

Cllr Emer Higgins of Fine Gael criticised political opponents to the housing scheme, which she said were using the issue as a “political football”.

Fianna Fáil’s Ed O’Brien said there was a “crisis in every aspect of housing” and each extra home helped address the problem. “I’m not prepared to hold up a development that’s going to develop houses,” he said.

Labour Party councillors also voted in favour of the housing scheme.

Local authority chief executive Daniel McLoughlin previously told councillors that if the scheme was rejected, it would set any potential development on the site back at least 18 months.

On Monday he said there were obstacles to the local authority building on the land itself, such as restrictions on borrowing on the public balance sheet.

“We cannot on our own volition go and design an affordable housing scheme,” he said, adding a national scheme was needed, which the council could then apply under.

Following the vote, housing activists chanted “Shame on you” at councillors from the public gallery, at which point the meeting was suspended for a break.

The Kilcarbery project will now go to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval.