Council approves plan to build 2,000 homes in Ballymun
Plan aims to provide affordable housing for sale and rent and better infrastructure
The old towers of Ballymun: over the past two decades 36 blocks of 2,820 flats built in the 1960s, including seven 15-storey towers, have been demolished in area. Photograph: Alan Betson
The Ballymun Local Area Plan sets out a strategy for the development of almost 34 hectares of land which remains vacant in the former high-rise suburb following its 20-year regeneration.
In addition to more homes, the plan aims to provide better infrastructure, shopping and employment opportunities to work towards the creation of an economically viable “new town” with an eventual population of up to 30,000.
In 1997, following decades of neglect and increasing social deprivation, a government decision was made to regenerate Ballymun.
Over the past two decades 36 blocks of 2,820 flats built in the 1960s, including seven 15-storey towers, have been demolished. Almost 2,000 replacement social homes, as well as 1,350 private sector homes, mostly apartments serving a rental market, have been built.
When regeneration began 80 per cent of residents lived in social housing, with just 20 per cent owning their homes.The construction of private housing was seen as key to achieving social and economic regeneration. However, the majority of households still live in social housing. Owner occupancy has risen to just over 28 per cent, with private rented at 12.6 per cent.
The plan seeks to correct what is says is a “skewed tenure mix” through the development of more private housing, for owner-occupancy and for rent.
Future social housing in the area would be provided through the obligation of developers to provide 10 per cent of new housing for people on the social housing waiting list.
Mixed tenure is needed to encourage more shops and other commercial service to the area, the plan states. “The dominance of low income households and limited disposable income is restrictive for local businesses and makes it difficult to attract new commercial activity into the area.”
The council is particularly anxious to develop a new shopping centre following its purchase of the old Ballymun Town Centre complex in 2014.
The plan sets out “site briefs” for 31 plots of land in Ballymun detailing the amount of housing, commercial, community and recreational facilities which must be provided. The infrastructure required or planned to service the sites, such as roads, sewerage, and public transport such as Metro North is also included in each site brief.
The delivery of Metro North is “an essential component” of the regeneration process, the plan states.
City planner John O’Hara said the plan provides a “unique framework to finish the regeneration” and “fulfil the full potential of Ballymun”.
The plan will be on public display for four weeks before it comes into force.