Deal on 900 social homes for Glass Bottle site close to completion

Dublin council is finalising apartment prices with the site receiver

A protest in 2016 at the Irish Glass Bottle site at Poolbeg  calling for affordable housing. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A protest in 2016 at the Irish Glass Bottle site at Poolbeg calling for affordable housing. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A deal on the provision of 900 social and affordable homes on the former Glass Bottle Company site at Poolbeg is close to agreement, Dublin City Council has said.

The council plans the fast-track development of up to 3,500 apartments in a new strategic development zone (SDZ) on the Poolbeg peninsula, centred on the old glass bottle site. Under the plans, published by the council last year, more than 25 per cent of the apartments would be used for social and affordable housing.

However, earlier this year the receiver to the Irish Glass Bottle Company lands and the neighbouring Fabrizia site, David Carson, appealed the provision of the 900 social and affordable homes to An Bord Pleanála. Under the planning Acts, housebuilders must provide 10 per cent of any scheme of 10 homes or more for social housing, which would result in a total of 350 social homes.

In his appeal, Mr Carson maintained the council had “no legal basis” to require the provision of more than 10 per cent social housing and to do so would have “serious potential consequences” for the value of future development.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan last April told councillors he was “surprised and shocked” when he learned of the appeal. He said he had told the Department of Housing that he felt the receiver’s actions were “inconsistent with the terms of the agreement” reached over the development.

Reached a deal

In May 2017 the council had reached a deal with then minister for environment Simon Coveney, Nama and receivers, that State funding would be made available to bring the number of social and affordable homes in Poolbeg to 900.

Ahead of the start of An Bord Pleanála’s appeal hearing in mid-April this year, Mr Carson agreed to enter into negotiations for the provision of the additional affordable housing on the land.

Negotiations had not been completed ahead of the board’s scheduled decision date on the council’s plans in August. The board, however, missed this deadline and last week wrote to the council seeking more information on the project which will push the decision date into next year.

However, the council’s head of housing, Brendan Kenny, said the deal with Mr Carson was in the final stages of agreement.

“While the agreement is not fully concluded it is very, very close to conclusion.”

A deal had been reached to provide the 900 units that had been sought by the council, Mr Kenny said.

“What is still being worked out is the price.”

Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys said the deal should have been finalised by this stage.

“I am not seeing any great progress here and I don’t believe there is any great urgency on the part of the council.”

New bridge

The State was investing “vast amounts of tax-payers money” in the Poolbeg lands, Mr Humphreys said, through the provision of infrastructure, including €16 million in funding for a new bridge to the peninsula.

“The money that’s been invested here has to be reflected in the price the State pays for these homes. I want to see a deal that’s value for money for the tax-payer, but it has been one delay after another and I have absolutely no faith in the council to deliver this deal.”

Mr Carson said he could not comment on the matter.