Receivers to negotiate affordable housing deal for Poolbeg

Receiver appealed inclusion of 900 social and affordable homes from total build of 3,500

A homeless protest at the Irish Glass Bottle site calling for affordable housing in 2016. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

A homeless protest at the Irish Glass Bottle site calling for affordable housing in 2016. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The receiver to the former Irish Glass Bottle site on Dublin’s Poolbeg peninsula has agreed to enter into negotiations for the provision of affordable housing on the land.

The willingness to broker a housing deal was confirmed in a letter to city councillors on Tuesday morning ahead of the start of an An Bord Pleanála appeal hearing on the council’s plans for the fast-track development of up to 3,500 apartments in a new Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) on the peninsula.

David Carson, receiver to the Irish Glass Bottle Company lands and the neighbouring Fabrizia site, has appealed the inclusion of 900 social and affordable homes as part of the overall total, despite having previously agreed the figure, according to Dublin City Council.

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

Last May the council said it 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.

However, Mr Carson is now appealing the inclusion of any more than 10 per cent social housing, or a maximum of 350 homes, in the provisions of the SDZ scheme.

In a letter to councillors on Tuesday morning, the council’s head of planning Richard Shakespeare said the receiver now agreed to enter into an “intense period of discussions with the objective of entering into a binding commercial agreement, with confirmed funding, between the parties prior to a decision by An Bord Pleanála on the scheme”.

The receiver has proposed the agreement would be “independent of, and separate to” the SDZ scheme, said Mr Shakespeare. “The aim of any such agreement will be to ensure the delivery of the additional units to Dublin City Council for use as affordable housing,” he said.

Speaking at the hearing, Declan Brassil, planning consultant representing the receiver, confirmed negotiations were ongoing with the council in relation to achieving a “commercial agreement” for additional affordable homes. But he said the appeal against inserting this in the SDZ scheme was being made “on legal grounds” and would continue.

Mr Carson maintains the council has “no legal basis” to require the provision of more than 10 per cent social housing under the SDZ scheme and to do so would have “serious potential consequences” for the value of future development.

The receiver is also seeking increases in height, of approximately two storeys across the site, otherwise it said the maximum number of 3,500 apartments could not be achieved.

The SDZ comes to 34 hectares, most of the remaining lands not occupied by the Glass Bottle/Fabrizia site are owned by Dublin Port Company. It plans to retain its lands for port use.

Promoters of a plan to use eight hectares of port lands for an €80 million studio complex also appealed the SDZ scheme.

Tom Phillips, planning consultant for the studio promoters said they were not engaged in a “land grab” and “our clients want to work with Dublin Port Company, not usurp them.”

He stressed the studio would not be competing with housing as it would be on port lands. “It’s not a media studio or housing, it’s both, and we think both can co-exist alongside each other.”