Council Briefs: On Selling "New Priory", and Building Homes in Priorswood and on Finglas Road

Selling New Priory

Dublin City Council is gearing up to sell 49 apartments at New Priory – formerly Priory Hall, an apartment complex in north Dublin that was found not to be fire-safe.

The complex was vacated, and when developer Coalport Ltd didn’t fix them up fully, the government stepped in. It put the council in charge of doing the required work.

Blocks 1–7 were completed in 2016. Now works on blocks 8 to 18 are nearly done, said Tom Gorman, an administrative officer, at a meeting on Monday of the council’s North Central Area Committee.

This latest phase includes 105 homes, 49 of which will be sold on the open market. (The rest are going to be social housing, or are already owned by someone.)

Gorman says the council will raise about €12.7 million from the sales of these apartments. The Department of Housing will reimburse any losses to the council, he said.

Overall, the works on New Priory cost the council about €52 million, said Gorman, in response to a question from independent Councillor John Lyons.

“As sales go, each sale would need the approval of city council,” says Gorman.

Fine Gael Councillor Terence Flanagan asked whether there was much interest in the apartments so far. There has been, Gorman said.

Green Party Councillor Donna Cooney asked why the council couldn’t turn some into “cost-rental” apartments.

“Strictly speaking, they’re not our units,” says Gorman. The Department of Housing owns them, he said.

Building Offsite

Councillors in the North Central Area backed plans for 12 new apartments at the junction of Belcamp Crescent East and North, and Belcamp Avenue and Moatview Drive in Priorswood.

The apartments would be built offsite, and assembled onsite, said Cian Harte, an official from the area office, in a presentation to councillors.

It’s better for health and safety because it brings in less construction traffic, and there’s less waste and weather-related delays, he said.

“We tend to have very little work to do once the pods actually arrive” on the site, he said.

Harte was seeking approval from councillors to go out to tender, he said.

Sinn Féin Councillor Larry O’Toole welcomed the plan to build more homes in the area. Was there going to be permeability through the site though? he asked.

That wasn’t something he wanted. “I think that’s very important,” says O’Toole.

“There’s going to be no pedestrian or vehicular access to the site,” Harte said – aside, that is, from residents’ access.

Overall, councillors said they approved of the plans.

Premier Dairies

Fianna Fáil Councillor Paul McAuliffe said he welcomed plans for more housing on the Premier Dairies site on the Finglas Road – but questioned heights and the number of studio apartments in plans.

“City council is saying very clearly that height on this site is not appropriate,” said McAuliffe, at a meeting of the council’s North West Area Committee.

Also, there’s “every chance we have 50 bedsits with people in difficult circumstances forced to rent them”, said McAuliffe.

David Freedland, a senior executive planner, briefed councillors on the plans for 245 apartments, submitted by Ruirside Developments Limited.

The project as proposed would include 49 studio apartments, 73 one-bed apartments and 123 two-bed apartments, as well as a childcare facility, communal amenities and management facilities, he said.

Heights range from six storeys to 10 storeys with the 10 storeys at a maximum of 32.7 metres high. (The development plan allows for up to 16 metres, but that’s been overruled by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.)

Freedland said the presentation was to gather committee members’ comments, which would be summarised and sent to An Bord Pleanála along with a report from council Chief Executive Owen Keegan.

An Bord Pleanála would then decide whether to grant permission for the project to go ahead. That’s the process for developments of more than 100 apartments.

The formal observations period closes on 3 October 2019. An Bord Pleanála is due to decide the case by 19 December.

Author:

Sean Finnan: Sean Finnan is a reporter for Dublin Inquirer. He covers the north side of the city. You can reach him at sfinnan@dublininquirer.com.

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