I thank the Chair and the committee for the opportunity to make this submission. I am joined today by Ms Catherine Keenan who is the director of housing for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has historically been and remains one of the most expensive parts of Dublin, and indeed the State, in which to purchase or rent a home. The county has excellent transport links in the form of the Luas and the DART. That transport infrastructure is one of the key drivers for premium prices.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council saw the fastest surge in prices in the capital in July 2018, with prices rising by 9.8%. In contrast, South Dublin County Council saw an increase of just 5.2%. The median price for Dublin as a whole was €360,000 in July, while in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council it was €527,000. That compares with €320,000 for Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council.
The affordability problem is therefore particularly severe in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and it is very important that the council would seek to maximise affordability on its own lands. The council approved an affordable scheme of priority at its meeting of 13 May 2019. Further regulations are required from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with regard to qualifying criteria and income limits.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has a limited landbank comprising 55 ha, of which 42 ha are available for housing, including the Shanganagh Castle site which is 11.2 ha overall, of which 8.7 ha are for residential purposes. One third of the portfolio is classified as urban infill and is served by public infrastructure and facilities necessary to provide housing. However, a significant proportion of the land portfolio is located on unserviced land. The southern part of the county and adjoining areas in north Wicklow have major water supply and foul drainage network deficits. Proposals for new water supply and sewerage schemes are being progressed through Irish Water. Lands at Old Conna, Rathmichael and adjoining areas in north Wicklow, which have major water supply and drainage deficits, will be serviced as part of the future implementation of the Old Conna-Woodbrook water and drainage schemes which is needed to unlock the development potential of the area. It is expected that analysis of the capacity of the foul drainage network will be completed in late 2020. Irish Water received planning permission in January 2019 to construct the Ballyman reservoirs and associated trunk main. Roads infrastructure in these areas also need to be addressed.
With regard to current projects, I am aware that the Enniskerry Road site was referenced by the Housing Agency earlier today. That scheme is a pathfinder project in Rebuilding Ireland and as such is a cost rental pilot supported by the Department. The project will see the first of the homes delivered under the cost rental model in the country, commencing on site in June 2019 with full completion expected at the end of 2021. The project, which had prior Part 8 planning approval, was developed up to tender stage by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for construction of 155 social and affordable homes, a community facility and green spaces, and it is the result of a collaboration between Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the Housing Agency, Respond and Túath housing associations, and the Housing Finance Agency. Financial support is also being provided by the Department through the serviced sites fund for the cost rental homes. Respond and Túath will carry out the project as development agents for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on land provided by the Housing Agency under the land aggregation scheme. The Enniskerry Road scheme comprises 50 cost rental homes and 105 social homes to be apportioned between Respond and Túath. The homes will be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom properties. All of the 50 cost rental homes will be two-bedroom apartments. The Department intends to develop a national policy approach to cost rental in Ireland based on the learnings from the cost rental pilot in Enniskerry.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is working in partnership with the Loughlinstown Co-operative Housing Society and Co-operative Housing Ireland, CHI, in an innovative approach to housing delivery which will provide for 42 homes, comprising eight co-op and 34 social homes, on lands provided by the council at Loughlinstown Wood. CHI has obtained planning permission for the overall scheme and the project has been tendered. Tender evaluation is currently taking place. CHI has obtained planning permission for the 42 dwellings and is in the process of tendering the contract. CHI will also project manage during construction. On-site construction is expected to commence in quarter 3 of 2019 with completion in quarter 2 of 2021.
In consideration of future projects, the lands at Ballyogan Court are residual lands left over from the construction of the M50 motorway. The proposed development provides for 119 quality dwellings with a mix of home types comprising 52 apartments and 67 houses. Part 8 planning was approved by the council on 7 June 2019. The scheme will be progressed as rapid build and preparation for tender is under way. A serviced sites fund application has been submitted to the Department for the provision of infrastructure associated with the affordable homes. The scheme will provide a mix of social and affordable dwellings for sale, cost rental or both. The number of each home type, size and location will be informed by the outcome of the second call for the serviced sites fund, the financial model and the development route.
St. Laurence’s Park is the current home of Stillorgan library and 16 vacant maisonettes, recently fully de-tenanted, which are in need of extensive refurbishment. The site is adjacent to the Stillorgan Leisureplex and the N11 Stillorgan Road. The library, housed in a prefabricated building, is one of the busiest in the county. The proposal for the development of the site provides for residential development of 89 social and affordable homes and a new library. The scheme will provide a mix of social and affordable housing for sale, cost rental or both. The number of each home type, size and location will be informed by the outcome of the second call for the serviced sites fund, the financial model and the development route.
The council commissioned a revised cost-effectiveness analysis, as requested by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which informs the stage 2 application which has been submitted.
The Shanganagh Castle lands are located on the southern side of Shankill. The local area plan, adopted in July 2017, cleared the way for detailed master planning in the area. Residential development is being supported by the provision of substantial new road and rail transport infrastructure under the local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, and by the National Transport Authority, NTA. Woodbrook-Shanganagh is also a major urban housing delivery site. The Woodbrook-Shanganagh local area plan requires the delivery of a new DART station at Woodbrook, midway between Bray and Shankill, with a cost of between €4 million and €5 million. The NTA’s Transport Strategy 2016-2035 includes the provision of a rail station at Woodbrook. On road infrastructure, there are localised improvements or upgrades required to the Dublin road corridor between the Wilford interchange and the Woodbrook-Shanganagh local area plan lands, which will be informed by the outcome of the NTA core bus corridor study.
A cross-party proposal for 200 social and 340 affordable homes was agreed at the council meeting of 4 September 2017. As part of the development of the project, the need to establish strong governance procedures and protocols is required. A cost-effectiveness analysis in conjunction with a multi-criteria assessment was undertaken on the proposal. The analysis was submitted as part of the stage 1 approval. It highlighted that there were difficulties with affordability, in particular with apartments. The estimated cost of developing the Shanganagh Castle site is approximately €132 million without any affordability subsidy. The executive has been working with the National Development Finance Agency, NDFA, and the Land Development Agency, LDA, to examine delivery options. It is intended that the scheme will comprise a mix of social, affordable purchase, and cost rental. The master plan for the site is nearing completion, and thereafter preparations will commence for planning. It is expected that the project will be ready to proceed to planning in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council welcomes the prospect of delivering affordable homes in the county and is working actively in collaboration with the development partners on two mixed tenure sites, which will deliver 50 cost rental homes and eight affordable purchase homes. Future projects at design and planning stages will provide mixed tenure sites with provision for between 400 and 420 affordable or cost rental homes. The number of each home type, size and location will be informed by the outcome of the second call for the serviced sites fund, the financial model, and the development route. The council has already maximised or is at design stages for the bulk of our viable serviced lands. The provision of housing, both social and affordable, on the remainder of council lands is dependent on major infrastructure being in place.
Ms Keenan and I between us will be happy to take questions of this submission.