Docklands and the housing crisis

 

Sir, – The lost potential of the docklands to help alleviate the housing shortage within Dublin City is concerning (“No social housing at new docklands developments”, Fiona Reddan, News, April 30th) .

It is astonishing that the Docklands Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) – long trumpeted as a particular resource within Dublin City to provide extra housing – is set only to produce 2,600 housing units across 22 hectares, when this number should be ideally in five figures. Remarkably, to date only 26 social housing units (“Lack of social homes in Dublin Docklands raised by oversight body”, News, February 7th) seem to be realised within the Docklands SDZ, despite the background of a predominantly left-wing existing composition of councillors on Dublin City Council.

As a stark and staggering contrast, within the very small footprint of Roebuck Road, Owenstown Park and Foster Avenue (a radius involving a walk of 30 seconds in the vicinity of the suburban areas of Mount Merrion and Clonskeagh) there would be significantly more units (primarily in the form of student accommodation) outlined in planning applications since 2017 than the entire envisaged residential component of the Docklands SDZ.

In Sandyford, there are routinely examples of buildings in the realm of 12 to 14 storeys proposed, far above the norm currently set out for the Docklands SDZ, with a standard height of eight storeys.

To a significant degree, my assessment is that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is serving more and more as an overflow housing resource for city-centre workers, as a byproduct of the determination set out in Dublin City’s Development Plan for the city centre to remain resolutely low-rise.

The Docklands SDZ is set to provide jobs for 28,000 workers but housing for less than one-tenth of these would be provided for within the SDZ itself.

Instead of easing the housing burden in the city centre, the Docklands SDZ developments are set to in fact sharpen the housing shortage in the city centre, with an inevitable and anticipated effect on surrounding residential rent prices as a direct consequence. – Yours,etc,

Cllr JOHN

KENNEDY,

(Fine Gael),

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

County Council,

Marine Road,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – During a discussion at the recent “Women in Media” conference, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English again offered the excuse, for the failure of Government to commence needed large-scale social housing building, of wanting to ensure that there was “better social integration” and that this objective was best served by the Rebuilding Ireland programme and a general housing policy which has a heavy reliance on the private sector.

In light of the latest report that Dublin City Council has dumped its “social mix” policy, can we now expect the Minister to intervene and instruct the council to insist on the minimum number of “social” units in these developments?

If not, will he just come clean and admit that the “social mix” exculpation he frequently trots out is just a fig-leaf to deflect criticism of the Government’s failed policy of outsourcing social housing provision to the private sector? – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond,

Sligo.