Treasury signs contract to build social housing at Spencer Dock


A CONTRACT to build 112 social housing units at Spencer Dock has been signed by Treasury Holdings and Dublin City Council, but the scheme is awaiting approval from the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

The authority insists that 150 private apartments should be built on an adjoining site within 18 months to ensure that it does not become a “ghetto”, but Treasury wants this deadline extended to three years “to reflect current market conditions”.

Under the authority’s original section 25 approval for residential development at Spencer Dock, Treasury secured a derogation to build the required 112 social housing units after first completing some 600 private apartments in the area.

The company has now applied to the authority for approval for an amended scheme that would see this social housing block of apartments built, to be followed by the construction of a separate block of 150 private apartments within three years.

Located on the corner of Sheriff Street and New Wapping Street, the social housing block would consist of 112 units, the majority of which would be for older people, and 79 private apartments which would be sold on the open market.

Development director Rob Davies said that adding social housing to the significant number of private apartments already built there “will ensure Spencer Dock continues to develop through the downturn into a socially mixed, quality urban quarter”.

He said construction of the block, which would directly create 300 jobs, “would be one of the few construction projects to get under way this year and would represent a welcome employment generator during this difficult time in the building industry”.

Under its deal with the city council, Treasury would supply the social housing units at a price equivalent to the construction and design cost, with a small profit margin.

The council has received budget approval for this from the Department of the Environment.

The agreement with the council follows several years of negotiation with its housing officials and the docklands authority. In a statement, Treasury said work would begin on the site later this year subject to final section 25 approval from the authority.

The advantage of section 25 approval is that it removes the scheme from the planning process, with no right of appeal to An Bord Pleanála. It was under section 25 that the private apartments already built at Spencer Dock were approved by the authority.

When they were sold off the plans in 2002, they were snapped up within hours.

After the property market collapsed, some buyers who reneged on their contracts have been pursued by Treasury for compliance.