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Major Social Housing Schemes Set for The Liberties Despite Covid-19 Pandemic

A picture of the planned developments
Picture from Stephen Coyne, thelibertiesDubin.ie

The development of two new social housing schemes in The Liberties is continuing apace, despite the continuing economic fallout from Covid-19.

 

All major building work in the area was halted in March this year, and construction only re-commenced in July, resulting in a four-month delay on completion dates.  

While the inner-city area of the capital has benefitted from several social and affordable housing projects, over the years, these latest developments represent a new departure from the more traditional social housing designs. 

The first of these developments is being constructed on Chamber Street, overlooking the new Weaver Park, off Cork Street. This development by Dublin City Council (DCC) will provide 55 new homes, arranged in two blocks of apartments, together with associated communal courtyards and a small communal space. These new homes will meet the highest construction standards, all with private amenity space and will provide much-needed additional social housing for The Liberties catchment area. 

Surrounded by vacant sites, the buildings will range from seven stories in height, with the tallest element facing onto Cork Street itself, re-enforcing the importance of this busy street as a main artery into the city centre.  

Because of its proximity to a busy city park, the rear courtyards of the apartment blocks are designed as “sanctuaries”, where the residents can enjoy some peace and quiet in an enclosed external area. 

Levitt Bernstein Architects and ABK Architects, the housing scheme designers, have attempted to re-interpret historical facades relating to The Liberties catchment area into a modern elevation, as a means of retaining an historical continuity with the area.  

The park elevations are based on a domestic bay system, to reflect the narrow plot widths of the historic development pattern. In contrast, the elevations along Cork Street will have larger openings and amore robust and simpler character, to address the urban scale of the immediate area. This development is scheduled to be completed in late 2021. 

In the second recent major social housing development, construction is well underway at Bonham Park, on Bonham Street. When completed, this development will consist of 57 apartments, comprised of 26 one-bedroom, 26 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom units for community and enterprise purposes. The apartments will be located around a landscaped courtyard and children’s play areas.  

Newly-elected Dublin South-Central Green Party T.D., Patrick Costello, said: “The Liberties catchment area is always in need of quality social housing. We need to build more affordable homes for all ages and incomes, yet there is very little building happening, either public or private.” 

“This situation needs to change rapidly. However, it is really terrific to see these two new social housing developments going ahead, despite all the disruption arising from the economic fallout from the current Covid-19 Pandemic.” 

Patrick costello, green party t.d

The development is being made under special emergency powers in the Housing Act, meaning that it has not had to go through the conventional planning process for local authority projects.  

However, it was approved by City Councillors in July last year, with site clearance and main construction work beginning immediately. The completion date was initially set at twelve months, but this was extended by four months because of the national lockdown in March, when all building work was temporarily halted. 

This social housing development will compliment a planned new park on Bridgefoot Street, which has been under construction since March this year, under The Liberties Greening Strategy.  

The Bonham Park scheme is also being designed and built by a team including Levitt Bernstein Architects, ABK Architects and Curtins Consulting for Dublin City Council’s Housing Department. 

Both social housing schemes within The Liberties catchment area were being constructed under the “rapid build” element of DCC’s Social Housing Programme. However, the term “rapid build” has been rendered a misnomer, due to the continuing economic fallout from the global pandemic.  

Work will continue on the two new social housing schemes in The Liberties despite major delays to construction during the current Covid-19 Pandemic. 

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