Segregated creches part of housing plan

 

DUBLIN CITY Council’s contract for the failed public-private partnership project to redevelop O’Devaney Gardens, near Phoenix Park, envisaged separate creches for the private and social housing that would be built on the estate.

One of the architects who had been involved in tendering for the project told The Irish Times he was “quite taken aback” by this specification because it clearly indicated that children would be socially segregated at an early age.

“It would be a form of apartheid,” he said. “When we raised this with city council housing officials, we were told that it was being done at the behest of the local community.”

Tenants of the estate were involved in drawing up the development brief.

Corcoran Jennison, a Boston-based property firm that tendered for the PPP before it was awarded to a consortium led by developer Bernard McNamara, said it proposed integrating the creches under a single arrangement.

“This was one of the simplest and most effective strategies for successfully integrating families of all incomes and racial backgrounds. It was also one of the most economical,” Corcoran Jennison said in a critique of the council’s housing design guidelines.

A spokesman for the company, which developed and still manages the Harbour Point housing estate in Boston, said it was at a loss to understand why council officials also insisted on separate blocks for social housing tenants.

“They are opposed to the alternative of mixing social housing and private sector residents and use the term ‘pepper potting’ to describe this approach. They will have none of it, apparently on the basis that middle-class residents wouldn’t accept it.”

A spokesman for the council said there was “no substance” to suggestions of social segregation in the project as “no detail was worked up with regard to the provision of a private creche as such”.

Boston social housing scheme shows the way: Property