Thursday 23 November 2017

Two years to deliver 'rapid build'

John Manning

A so-called 'rapid build' development of social housing at Pinewood in Balbriggan is due to be competed in the first quarter of next year, more than two years after the project was first proposed.

The development of 25 social homes had a difficult birth after the original proposal to build 40 'rapid build' homes on the site was defeated at the council in the teeth of local opposition to the scale of the development.

A down-sized 25-home project was then proposed and passed by councillors and the development is now finally underway.

At this month's meeting of the Balbriggan/Swords Area Committee, Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) asked for an update on the project.

The council's housing department told Cllr Quinn that 'construction of the rapid build social housing in Pinewood is currently underway'.

The council reported: 'The houses are due for completion by Q1 2018.'

The proposal has changed considerably since the development was first mooted. In the face of overwhelming opposition to the original proposal to bring 40 homes to the site, the council backed down and reduced the number of homes to 24 plus a 'community rooms' building. That community building has now been replace with another home - bringing the number of social housing units proposed on the site to 25.

In a long debate on the issue before the current proposal was passed, local councillors from the Balbriggan area and beyond raised the thorny issue of access again and again, which was ultimately addressed in a separate motion backed by all the Balbriggan councillors and proposed by Cllr Malachy Quinn, calling for an alternative access to Pinewood to be completed before any further development was allowed in the area, beyond these 25 homes.

That motion ultimately passed and reflected the one of the main concerns of locals who were always at pains to stress that they were not opposed to social housing but had legitimate concerns over the impact of this development.

Fingal Independent

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