I welcome the opportunity to raise this issue and I am very grateful to the Minster of State for taking this debate, which is extremely important for so many residents in the Dundrum area. Pretty much everyone in the Chamber will be familiar with the area and may think of it as a shopping destination, but those who know the city and county a little longer will know that it is very much an established community with an extremely large population. Not only is it large, it is set to increase by 44% by 2040, with the development of 4,500 new homes forecast, including 250 homes in Fernbank, 90 homes in Herbert Hill, the recently granted strategic housing development, SHD, in Dundrum Town Centre and, most important, the forthcoming development of the Central Mental Hospital site by the Land Development Agency, which will bring more than 1,200 social, affordable and private homes to the area.
The area requires more supports, amenities and services to support this growth and allow the town to become a true community. Funding has been applied for by the county council under the urban regeneration and development fund to improve the civic and cultural facilities in this area. The uses for the community hub would be flexible to suit the needs of the community but are proposed to include a family resource centre, a civic plaza, a café, a positive ageing space, offices, a performance space and more. It would be set within the civic centre and the existing Carnegie library, which is an extremely famous and much-cherished structure in the area for many of us.
The move towards apartment living to help increase our housing supply in an efficient manner will increase the demand for community, cultural and civic spaces. We absolutely welcome the new members of our community, and the diversity in age and background they bring is most welcome. However, we must ensure the community resources are in place to support these new neighbours and allow them to become fully immersed in our community. We must cater to the existing population of Dundrum as well as the new cohort of residents who will arrive and expand their families over the coming years. There has been a lack of intergenerational mixing in the area over recent years, which would be addressed by these services. This project is the ideal way to address that as well as to encourage community involvement in people who may not be able to afford private clubs or facilities, especially given the financial toll the pandemic has had on so many in our communities. Family centres, facilities for the elderly, and libraries will all work in tandem to facilitate all members of the community and draw all cohorts closer together.
The Dundrum civic offices have been in place for over five years and are simply not customer focused. As the Minister of State understands better than most, with the changing role of local government and the nature of engagement between citizens and local government, we must prioritise the accessibility of these services and ensure they are fit for purpose. By ensuring that these services are located in a focal point of the community, they will be in a position to serve the community for decades to come. The provision of libraries, community spaces for all ages and crucial council services is invaluable and cannot be overstated.
I urge the Minister of State to prioritise the funding for this project, one that will be so appreciated, not only by the community in Dundrum, but the wider communities going into Churchtown, Windy Arbour, Ballinteer, Kilmacud and Goatstown. It is very important that we remember back to 15 or 20 years ago when there was a roar of development across the country, but especially the south County Dublin constituency that I represent. For so many years, people were moving into new homes, apartments and houses, only to be completely robbed of those vital community facilities. It is not good enough to build those facilities after the homes: we need to pre-plan and ensure that the community and civic hubs are there. That is why I raise this with the Minister of State. I hope that he and the Government will look on this favourably.