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Planned Homes on Player Wills Site Remain in Limbo

 

Ambitions to develop housing on the John Player Wills site located in the Liberties remain unclear despite it laying vacant for over a decade.

Comprised of the former John Player factory and Bailey Gibson industrial premises, the South Circular Road site spans 4.32 hectares and is considered one of the few remaining high-quality development sites in the heart of Dublin.

The lots were combined with St Teresa’s Gardens during the boom for a now failed development scheme called Players Square, for which the planning permission has expired.

The old planning permission proposed the development of over 700 apartments and a variety of facilities under a one million square foot mixed-use scheme, including retail space, a school, two creches, a medical centre and a leisure centre.

Receivers on behalf of Nama, Paul McCann and Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton, are currently seeking buyers for the site currently considered one of the most expensive in the city – a new planning application will also have to be sought by any prospective buyer.

Nama-receivers have been undertaking legal proceedings since December 2017 in an attempt to remove a salvaging business currently operating from the site – an application for a ruling is due before the High Court on December 4.

Although the lack of planning permission and legal proceedings are issues that can be overcome, the ongoing failure to address the situation has raised concern amongst South Central Area Councillors and locals to secure the land for the development of housing in the capital.

South Central Area Councillors unanimously backed a motion last month that would see the site transferred to state ownership in order to develop it as social and affordable housing.

The motion, proposed by Labour Councillor Rebecca Moynihan, urges the Department of Housing to support Dublin City Council in initiating a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of the land.

Councillor Moynihan said: “This site has the potential to have over 500 social and affordable homes, in conjunction with the social housing on St Teresa’s Gardens land but instead the site lies vacant.

“After years of private market failure, we must provide for a new model to tackle the housing crisis and it is time we took radical action to provide our citizens with homes.

“The Government’s reliance on private developers, and the practice of land speculation, means that enough affordable homes will never be built. The supply crisis can only be sustainably resolved through long-term State action.”

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