Shrewsbury Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin, the most sought-after address in the capital, is unlikely to be getting its first local authority tenants and affordable housing purchasers.
This is despite a Bord Pleanála ruling that a development of seven luxury apartments by O'Malley Construction on the former Chester Beatty Library site should comply with this requirement, part of the Government's housing strategy. Up to 20 per cent of a development must be given over to social and affordable housing under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. However, while Dublin City Council says it is still in discussion with O'Malley Construction over how it will meet its social and affordable obligations and has come to no decision, it is considering accepting monetary compensation instead of the apartments or alternative housing units at another location. According to Mr John O'Connor, executive manager of Dublin City Council's housing department, while these arrangements are generally only made with developers who bought land before August 25th, 1999, "the land costs in that area might not be affordable for us", O'Malley Construction bought the one-acre site at 20 Shrewsbury Road for €9.14 million in November 1999. The proposed development was given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála despite opposition by a number of prominent Shrewsbury Road residents, who appealed it on grounds including that it would constitute an overdevelopment of the area and was out of character with the architecture of the street. Businessman Mr Des McEvaddy, with an address in the road; solicitor and property developer Mr Stephen McKenzie, who was underbidder for the site in 1999 and owns a large house next door to the former library; and property developer Mr Sean Dunne, who has built a house to the front of the property, were among the appellants. Mr O'Connor is adamant, however, that those on the housing waiting lists will not necessarily be excluded from upmarket areas under the Part V provision. "We have a situation in Donnybrook where a developer is saying it's not viable to include social and affordable units given the small size of the development and the cost of the land. He bought knowing that was the case so he shouldn't have paid too high a price." By Edel Morgan © The Irish Times
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