In May, in a lengthy submission to An Bord Pleanála, I requested an Oral Hearing on the major development of almost 500 ‘build to rent’ apartments at the old Chivers Factory site on Coolock Drive, Dublin 17.

Following consultations with constituents, I raised their concerns about the development in particular the ‘Build to Rent’ proposal at a time when homes are desperately needed in Dublin Bay North with over 7,000 families and individuals on the Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council housing lists.

Constituents key concerns included the very high density of the apartment blocks proposed for this 3.61 hectare site, the proposed height at up to 10 storeys, the impact from overlooking on residential amenity of neighbouring 2-storey homes and the problems of traffic access for an already very busy residential street and which also has a shopping centre.

Most of all however constituents were concerned with the Build to Rent development model whereby developments are purpose-built for long-term renters and which is a model largely unknown in Ireland. Strong fears have been expressed that such a high-density rental development in Dublin Bay North will drive up the already colossal rents in Dublin Bay North and indeed the whole of Dublin.

Constituents and local representatives have also expressed upset because they say they were consulted on a completely different housing proposal when this land was rezoned. Residents tell me that they were informed that much needed affordable housing was being proposed for this site. Even Dublin City Council will not receive the normal 10% of homes at the location under Part V legislation but instead 49 apartments will only be leased to Dublin City Council for 25 years.

Because this proposal (Plan ABP-304346-19) will have such a profound impact, I requested an Oral Hearing. It is desperately disappointing to learn today from an Bord Pleanála that no Oral Hearing will be held and that the people of Coolock and their representatives will not have an opportunity to put their grave concerns in person to An Bord Pleanála. While long-term affordable and social housing is desperately needed at this location, this huge build to rent proposal may not be a sustainable solution.