Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (984)

Joan Collins

Question:

984. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason no physical masterplan or draft masterplan has been presented to the community or relevant groups in view of the fact that the cost rental proposal for St. Michael's Estate was launched in July 2018; and the reason there has been no financial plan available that would detail the way in which the whole project will be financed and the way in which rents will be set for those that will live in the new space in further view of the fact that the cost rental model is new. [23838/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Dublin City Council-owned site at St. Michael’s Estate, Emmet Road, Inchicore, has been selected as the site for one of two cost rental ‘pathfinder’ pilot projects. It is estimated that this site can accommodate approximately 470 homes in a high quality mixed-tenure development. The current tenure mix as agreed with the Department is 30% Social and 70% cost rental.

Plans regarding the development of the site at St. Michael's Estate are a matter for Dublin City Council, in the first instance. The Council has appointed a dedicated project manager and a project team to move the project forward. In addition to pre-existing consultative arrangements, the Council is also facilitating the establishment of a special Inchicore Regeneration Consultative Forum specifically for this project. As part of the consultative process open consultation sessions were hosted throughout November 2018. Furthermore, professional advisers have been appointed to develop an Urban Design Framework Plan.

In addition to this, I appointed Mr Jack Nolan (retired Assistant Garda Commissioner) to undertake a scoping exercise for the Inchicore/Kilmainham area. This focuses on the long term economic and social regeneration of the community, and it is anticipated that his report will be submitted to me by the end of June.

Last year, my Department had initial discussions with the European Investment Bank (EIB) regarding possible financing options for the St. Michael’s site. The EIB remain very interested in the St. Michael’s project and this initial contact has helped to facilitate a research project into the potential for the development of a broader cost rental sector in Ireland that my Department agreed with the EIB last month.

Once the design of the project at St. Michael's Estate has been developed further by Dublin City Council, then more detailed financial modelling can be undertaken in relation to the cost rental element. This will build on the initial work undertaken by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) last year, which indicated that rents that should be achievable will be competitive (15-25% below market), and it is expected that these will decrease further, relative to market rates, over time.

In the meantime, work is continuing on the other cost rental 'pathfinder' pilot project at Enniskerry Road in Stepaside. This is a collaboration between my Department, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the Housing Agency, Respond and Tuath Housing Associations, and the Housing Finance Agency.

The Enniskerry Road development comprises 155 homes, 50 of which will be cost rental. I have approved funding of c.€4.5m for the project under the Serviced Sites Fund and it is anticipated that construction will commence on site later this month.

Both the St. Michaels Estate and the Enniskerry Road projects will provide very valuable lessons for the development of a national cost rental approach in Ireland and will help to shape the contractual model and specifications for future larger-scale projects.