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'Dublin could soon run out of land for social housing' - council chief


There could be no land left by 2021, says Brendan Kenny

There could be no land left by 2021, says Brendan Kenny

There could be no land left by 2021, says Brendan Kenny

The average cost of building a social housing unit in the city is almost €300,000 - and it could rise even higher, a senior Dublin City Council boss has warned.

Worse still, the council could soon run out of land for such housing, said Brendan Kenny.

The council's deputy chief executive said the cost of delivering 54 homes as part of the St Teresa's Gardens regeneration would cost €18.9m, or €351,000 per unit.


Mr Kenny said contamination on the site in the south-west inner city was a significant issue related to the high cost of the project.

The average cost in the city is €297,000.

However, he dismissed reports last week that the cost of each unit at St Teresa's would work out at €500,000.

"I don't know where that came from," said Mr Kenny.

"It's totally wrong. However, it is very expensive.

"The contract is €18.9m, which is working out at €351,000 per unit."

The council boss, who was speaking at an Oireachtas housing committee meeting, said the build cost alone for a single unit on the project, without factoring in other costs, worked out at around €300,000.

"It raises issues of affordability if it's costing us €351,000 to build a unit where there is no land cost," he said.

The site is entirely council-controlled land.

He said one of the major challenges for the city council was land.

Mr Kenny said that remaining land outside current housing plans is unsuitable to cater for any more social housing.

He added that by 2021 the council may have no land left that is suitable for building social housing.

Of the 120 hectares of land in its possession, 93 hectares are being used to deliver housing under current plans.


"The balance of it is in Ballymun, Cherry Orchard and Darndale areas, where there's a huge concentration of social housing," said Mr Kenny.

"Despite the crisis, it just wouldn't be appropriate or sustainable for us to build high- rise, high-density social housing in those areas.

"We're fairly constrained, so it means in 2021 we've very little land left or none," he added.

Mr Kenny said the Government target of delivering more than 9,000 homes between 2018 and 2021 "frightened the life out of us".

He said it would be a huge challenge for the council to be able to deliver that number of homes.

"Our target for Dublin city is very challenging. It's 9,094," he said, responding to questions on the number of homes the council can deliver.

"When we saw that, it frightened the life out of us.

"This idea that it was too low, it would be a major challenge for us to achieve that but it's our aim to do that and exceed it and if we go back to the department tomorrow and say we can exceed that, they'd be very happy," he added.

Mr Kenny said the council was now undertaking emergency planning for most of its rapid-build housing schemes, which quicken the delivery process by about six months.