Mixed reaction to increase in units at O’Devaney Gardens

by Sylvia Pownall

Councillors have given mixed reactions to an increase in the number of homes in the proposed redevelopment of O’Deveney Gardens.

The plan has been ramped up by more than 300 units and now includes more than 1,100 houses at the former flats site in mix of social, affordable and private homes.

City councillors were briefed by the officials and the developer, Bartra Capital, at a closed area meeting of Dublin City Council.

After a heated debate last November, councillors voted to transfer the prime plot of council land to Bartra in a deal which was said to include plans for 768 homes.

But at a private briefing earlier this month, representatives from Bartra Capital said they now aim to build 1,053 homes on the site.

The breakdown of homes will still be 50% private, 30% social and 20% affordable purchase as per the original agreement, councillors were told. Meanwhile, Dublin City Council is building 56 social homes on an adjacent plot.

The proposed extra units were welcomed by some councillors, while others flagged concerns about the greater height and density.

In support of the plan Cllr Ray McAdam (FG) said: “There will be more public housing on O’Devaney Gardens than ever before.

“We will also have the mix of owner-occupier. The chance for my generation, and others living in Dublin 7, to buy and stay living in Dublin 7.

“This is welcome but I must stress that we are still five to six months away from a formal planning application being lodged with An Bord Pleanala.”

Bartra’s timeline for applying for planning permission for the scheme has been pushed back to early 2021, according to its planning director Hazel Jones.

Social Democrats Councillor Catherine Stocker asked what had changed since last November when the council approved the last plans.

An Bord Pleanála’s density requirements haven’t changed since a ministerial circular was put out in 2018, she pointed out.

Cllr Christy Burke (Ind) noted: “At the end of the day, this came out of the blue.”

He expressed concern that the new development will cause “suffocation” in terms of traffic, sewerage, and parking and is too high for Stoneybatter.

The new plans would increase the height of the development from eight storeys at the highest point to 12 storeys.

Cllr Anthony Flynn (Ind) told the meeting: “The height and density have increased dramatically.

“It is my belief that not only were councillors misled by Bartra, but also by council management.”

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