Santry housing project called ‘student accommodation in disguise’

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

A proposed residential building in Santry is student accommodation in disguise, according to a Ballymun councillor.

People Before Profit Alliance councillor Andrew Keegan criticised the development of the Swiss Cottage housing project, which would be made up of housing units as well as a café, a restaurant and a store.

He described it as a “vulture fund looking for maximum bang for its buck,” at the Dublin North West committee meeting on February 20th. He added: “That [residential units] will be dilapidated in five years – I can guarantee you.”

Concerns were also raised by Labour councillor Andrew Montague, who said that height was a major issue. The building will range from three to six storeys high.

Montague wanted a shadow analysis to be done, as the property will be built beside two-storey houses and could potentially leave their gardens without light.

Keegan also called Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy an idiot and said that the Swiss Cottage proposal made him furious. He said: “It’s well thought out for making profit, but not for community gain.”

While each apartment will have individual kitchens, there will also be supplementary shared spaces. This includes a shared kitchen space and a lounge area.

Of the 112 housing units, 99 will be two-bedroom apartments. This was not suitable for most families, according to Keegan.

“I can’t see any family moving into this – a one-bed or a two-bed situation… It’ll be alright for a family of five who are on HAPs [Housing Assistance Payment] or some crap like that,” he said.

A spokesperson for the housing development explained how they were “build-to-rent” residential units. This describes accommodation that is never intended to be sold, but rather only rented out.

Adding to the list of issues, Montague also brought up flooding. “I’ve been a councillor for 15 years representing that area and it consistently floods,” he said.

However, the environmental report of the site states the water drainage network will be designed with climate change in mind, “with an allowance for a 10 per cent increase in rainfall intensities”.

The Swiss Cottage Bar and Restaurant would be demolished to make room for this proposed housing. It’s currently made up of a café, two retail stores and a takeaway.

An application was logged for its demolition on January 2nd of this year. The housing project’s spokesperson informed the committee that all relevant government departments had been notified.

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

Image Credit: My Pub