Minister Josepha Madigan
Minister Josepha Madigan

The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum is to be redeveloped into a new housing scheme.

The development in Windy Arbour village was approved by the cabinet last week as part of the new Land Development Agency (LDA).

The LDA seeks to make State lands available for house building and the development of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum will be one of the first projects to be undertaken by the new agency. It is hoped that more than 1,500 homes will be built on the Dundrum site, with the first becoming available in 2020.

Minister Josepha Madigan has welcomed the news, but said there are a few issues to be looked at.

“This means new homes for local people. However, we need to ensure there are adequate public transport services in place for when people move in. Bus and Luas services are already under pressure in the area, so we may need to look at increasing the frequency of local transport services.

“I am also concerned about parking and traffic congestion locally. Disruption must be kept to a minimum both during and after construction.

“This site has been in use as a public facility since 1850. Inside its walls there are many buildings of significance from heritage and cultural point of view which may need to be protected.“

Deputy Leader of the Green Party Catherine Martin welcomed the news but also had concerns.

“I am very concerned that only a portion of this site will be used for affordable homes, with the Government still not having provided a clear definition of what they mean by affordable.

“The current average house price in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown is more than €500,000 [which is] entirely out of reach for most people who would like to raise young families in the same area as they grew up.

“It is essential that we don’t run the risk of another Fernbank in Churchtown, where large scale private housing is bought by private pension funds, locking the local community out of this vital development.”

A Dundrum Housing Action spokesperson meanwhile has slammed government plans for the site and said it will “add petrol to the housing crisis fire.”

Brian Leeson said: “A full 90% of all the homes built on the site will immediately pass into private ownership. The remaining 10% will be built as ‘social housing’, the exact same percentage of social housing that is already legally required for every private development in the state.”

Mr Leeson said he would like to see the hospital site used for Universal Public Housing “along the lines of the very successful system that exists in Vienna.”