Éirígí For A New Republic spokesperson Ciarán Heaphy has called on An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for a proposed 495 ‘Built To Rent’ apartment development on the site of the former Chivers factory in Coolock. A decision on the planning application, which was lodged by the London-based Platinum Lands, is expected by mid-August. .
Speaking from Coolock, Heaphey said,
“The history of the Chivers factory site closely mirrors the wider dysfunction of the housing sector over the last fifteen years. The site was originally acquired by Liam Carroll after the factory shut in 2007. Three years later it was taken into NAMA when Carroll’s property empire collapsed.
In 2016, Platinum Lands bought the site from the NAMA-appointed receivers. Media reports at the time suggested that 250 apartments and duplexes would be built on the site if it was rezoned from industrial use to residential use. In March 2018, following intensive lobbying by Platinum Lands, Dublin City Council voted to do exactly that, on the understanding that a planning application would be lodged for about 350 apartments.
In May of this year, Platinum Lands lodged planning permission with An Bord Pleanála for 495 apartments on the site, using the new fast-tracking planning system which bypasses Dublin City Council.
These new plans would see about 50 of the apartments leased to Dublin City Council at 85% of market rents as ‘social housing’ for the next 25 years. At the end of the 25 years, the private corporation would retake full control of these 50 units.
A decade ago a site like this would have been used to built housing that could, at least theoretically, be bought by individuals and families. Now, as a direct result of Fine Gael’s housing policies, it will be used for 495 apartments that will be permanently owned by a private corporation that will charge the maximum possible rent to their private tenants and the state alike.
Private corporations already control thousands of homes across Dublin and have plans for tens of thousands more. The shift to private-corporation-owned-housing is the most important change to the housing sector in at least five decades. And it’s happening without any meaningful public debate or democratic input.
We are calling on An Bord Pleanála to act in the public interest and refuse to grant planning to Platinum Lands and other Build To Rent developers. This model of housing will do nothing put add fuel to the housing crisis fire. It’s time to end and reverse the corporate ownership of housing.
The alternative to profit-driven commodified housing is Universal Public Housing of the type that Éirígí has been calling for since 2016. Nothing else can, or will, permanently end the housing crisis.”