There are mixed feelings from Drimnagh locals as it was revealed a planning application for a new ‘build-to-rent’ apartment scheme on Davitt Road has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala.
The scheme will consist of 265 apartments in four different blocks on the site of the former Dulux factory.
Apartments in the new development are built to be rented, as opposed to being sold privately – a move which has become a growing housing trend across Ireland in recent years.
A planning application for the apartments has been made directly to An Bord Pleanala rather than Dublin City Council due to the size of the development, allowing the developer to bypass the local authority level.
Cllr Daithi Doolan (SF), who is also chairperson for housing committee in Dublin City Council, told Dublin Gazette that the housing in the locality is much needed as the area becomes home to the new National Children’s Hospital.
However, he is unsure of what the build-to-rent concept will mean for social housing. Cllr Doolan said: “Housing is going to be very in demand in that area in the coming months and years.
“You have those working on the new hospital, then once it’s opened, there’ll be nurses and doctors and maybe patient families in some cases.
“There’ll be a huge need for housing in that area. “We’re not against housing at all, but there needs to be criteria put in place that housing meets the needs of people in the city.
“I’d be concerned that because this [particular build] doesn’t go through the normal planning process, any concerns about shadowing, infrastructure or similar can’t be handled at a local level as it once would have been, as it’s gone straight to An Bord Pleanala [to decide upon].”
He added: “I would also be concerned that it’s entirely build-to-rent, and we have to question the impact that this would have as the council would normally get 10% for social housing.
“Because it’s build-to-rent, and not being built to sell, I would expect the developer to cooperate fully with the city council to give us that 10% housing for social [housing] to rent.
“What we wouldn’t want is for housing to be out of reach for local people, for those who need it most.
“I would hope that the rents would be realistic for locals, not exuberant.
“We need to build to meet the needs of the city, not the needs of a developer,” said Cllr Doolan.
Online, locals in the area appear to have mixed feelings toward the new development, with some saying the site should have been utilised for community facilities.
Commenting on a local Facebook page, Corina Conlan said: “Just what we need in Drimnagh … not!
“[Such developments are] anything other than some badly needed community amenities, such as a library, a leisure centre, a swimming pool etc. Drimnagh has nothing.”
Matthew Cummins said: “Sounds like a nightmare, not building community but totally the opposite.”
Grainne Ni Bhriain posted: “Great to see more property [being] built. Sad that it’s all a build to rent scheme – bit disappointing. Would of [sic] thought maybe half would be available to buy.”