Since the announcement in the media yesterday morning (prior to plans being presented to Councillors at the meeting) I have been in contact with a large number of local people.
The first issue is the selection of the sites. I believe it was wrong to select these sites without working with local councillors. I am also really annoyed that the first 5 sites were not spread out to all parts of the city. Yet again we are not building mixed communities in different parts of the city.
I can only comment in detail about the two sites in our area and so I have outlined some of the issues below. I made a full statement about the modular housing at the council meeting and in general they are a necessary evil given the current crisis but that doesn’t mean we abandon good planning when installing them.
Finglas South Site (old St Helena’s Old Folks)
I have met some of the adjoining residents in Lakeglen and their primary demand is that details of the plan are presented to them as soon as possible. There should be an immediate meeting with the combined Finglas South Residents Association as soon as possible. The general view was that people know the site will be developed and want to see it done in the right way. There was also a feeling that families from Finglas living in hotels need to be helped and this short term measure is a necessary evil. That being said the long term use of these modular homes as senior citizens accommodation or other uses must be agreed with residents.
There was also concern that people who have been on the waiting list for up to 10 years and more but who are not in emergency accommodation are not being considered.
Ballymun Co-op site.
This site on Balbutcher lane after the roundabout at Hampton wood has been identified for private Co-op affordable housing for many years. A detailed plan for the site has been developed over the past few months to get the co-op up and running and the City Council had been working with the Coop agency.
I have spoken to some involved in the Co-op this morning and the lack of communication with the Co-op is really poor particularly when other discussions were taking place with them. People have spent up to €5000 each on architect plans and planning permission (which still stands). The enabling works were done by the Department of the Environment in consultation with BRL.
The Co-op must proceed and every effort must be made not to apply any additional costs on the members just because the City Council have now eye-d up part of the site for something else. The use of part of site for modular housing may in the short term benefit the co-op by speeding up the process but local councillors will want to see a number of guarantees in place. Modular housing should not delay the co-op housing for the 40 families concerned and it should not cost them more money.
Again speaking to people in Ballymun there is concern that people who have been on the waiting list for up to 10 years and more but who are not in emergency accommodation are not being considered . In Ballymun this issue is even more acute as many of these people have sat on the list watching a decade of people in the old flat blocks being rehoused.
The answer to our housing crisis is not temporary modular housing but an active housing programme, we nee dot start seeing progress on that immediately.