South Dublin council plans affordable housing after 10-year gap

Ballyogan site left over from M50 construction will undergo rapid-build process

The first estate of affordable homes to be built by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in more than a decade will get under way at Ballyogan. File photograph: Alan Betson

The first estate of affordable homes to be built by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in more than a decade will get under way at Ballyogan. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

The first estate of affordable homes to be built by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in more than a decade is to get under way at a site south of Foxrock.

The council plans to build almost 120 social and affordable houses and apartments at Ballyogan Court, on a 2.4-hectare site left over from the construction of the M50 motorway. At least 52 of the homes will be available for purchase by low- and middle-income workers under the new affordable housing scheme.

The site, which is beside the Ballyogan Wood Luas stop, is owned by the council and listed on Dún Laoghaire’s register of vacant sites with a value of €5 million.

The Department of Housing this month granted just over €2 million in infrastructure funding for the site to allow 52 of the homes to be used for affordable housing. However, this number could be increased, as the council says the final breakdown between social and affordable homes will be based on tender prices.

The council will develop the estate using “rapid-build” systems as used in its recently completed social housing development at George’s Place in Dún Laoghaire town.

The system was initially developed to respond to the homelessness crisis, with schemes such as Baile na Laochra, a modular housing estate in Ballymun. The Ballyogan scheme is likely to be the first to use rapid-build housing for homes that will be offered for sale.

The council is now seeking tenders for architects to oversee the development of the 67 houses and 52 apartments at Ballyogan and will shortly issue a tender for the contract to design and build. It hopes to have selected a contractor within six months.

“As it is proposed that this housing development will be delivered through rapid-build construction methods, there will be a period of detailed design to be carried out by the contractor following their appointment, during which time the site will be prepared,” the council said.

“However, it is anticipated that progress will be rapid once construction commences on site. It is envisioned that construction on site will take approximately 12-14 months, with homes being delivered in 2021.”

Discontinued scheme

The Ballyogan estate would be “the first affordable purchase housing scheme to be constructed by the council” since the scheme was reintroduced, it said.

The last affordable housing scheme was discontinued in 2011, although local authorities had stopped building affordable houses a couple of years before that.

Councillors were earlier this year asked to approved the eligibility criteria for buying the houses. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors in April rejected the Government’s scheme because it made no provision for locals who moved out of the area because they could not afford rents, or those who have had to emigrate but would like to return home.

However, the following month they approved it, after warnings from the council’s management that they may lose out on the €2 million site funding if they did not endorse its terms.

Local Labour councillor Lettie McCarthy said the delivery of both social and affordable homes was positive, but she said the department had yet to issue a direction to the council on how the system would work, including how much the homes would cost.

A spokesman for the Department of Housing said it was working on the regulations, and further guidance would be issued to local authorities when this process was completed.