Council seeks O’Devaney Gardens apartments for rental scheme
Dublin City Council officials are continuing to seek a deal that would see 80% of the 1,047 homes planned for the former O’Devaney Gardens site retained as ‘public housing’.
The council said it was still in negotiations with developer Bartra and an approved housing body over the acquisition of flats which had been linked by legal action brought by Bartra against An Bord Pleanála.
Last September, the council granted permission for the 1,047 homes in blocks up to 14 stories high in the former municipal apartment complex near Phoenix Park, with a condition that limited potential sales to “buyers individual”.
While 30% of O’Devaney Gardens houses were set aside for social housing and 20% for affordable purchase, the remaining 50% were available to Bartra for private sale.
Bartra said the viability of the project would be affected by the condition which meant that legal persons could not buy the properties.
The company said it asked the council to correct what it claimed was an error in the planning permission, but when that did not happen it filed a judicial review procedure against the council’s decision.
Council last Friday amended its permit to ‘clarify and confirm’ that the condition only applied to houses and duplexes and not apartments in the development.
Almost all new homes in O’Devaney Gardens will be apartments, with just 43 homes and duplexes. However, all these houses and duplexes are already intended for social or affordable housing and will not be offered to the private market.
The council said on Sunday it was continuing negotiations with Bartra to secure an additional 30% of the 1,047 homes for a rental scheme. This could see 314 of the 524 apartments that Bartra is allowed to sell being held back for public housing.
However, Independent Councilor Cieran Perry said the council should immediately back out of any deals with Bartra.
“The council should cancel all deals with Bartra and build social housing itself using emergency powers.”
Bartra had missed deadlines to begin work on the program, Perry said. While the board had given the company some leeway due to Covid-19-related delays, Bartra’s decision to take legal action had pushed the development beyond an acceptable time extension. , did he declare.
“For this reason, I believe the board is entitled to terminate its agreement with Bartra,” Mr Perry said.
A spokesman for Bartra said he could not comment on the case as it remained in court.