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Almost 400 apartments planned for Dublin’s Grand Canal cost-rental scheme

Bluebell Waterways apartments will be on side of former canal water ponds in Dublin 12, used in the past to make Guinness

Almost 400 apartments, 65 per cent of which will be available to rent by low- and middle-income workers under the State’s cost-rental scheme, are to be built along the Grand Canal in Dublin by the Land Development Agency (LDA) and Dublin City Council.

The Bluebell Waterways development will be located on the site of old water filtration ponds beside the canal’s fifth lock, formerly used by the Guinness brewery when its stout was made using canal water.

The almost three-hectare site in Dublin 12 is approximately 6km to the west of the city centre, south of Ballyfermot, and west of Drimnagh and Inchicore. The area has been dominated by industrial sites and older city council housing, but is increasingly being developed for new apartment schemes due to its proximity to the city and good transport links, including the Luas Red Line.

The 389 apartments, in blocks of up to nine storeys, will include a mix of studios and one-, two- and three-bed apartments, as well as community spaces, a creche and allotments. The site, owned by the city council, includes 37 1950s social housing maisonettes which are earmarked for demolition. These tenants will be offered social homes in the new blocks.

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Just over a third of the homes will house people on the council’s social housing waiting list, with the remainder available for cost-rental tenants. Under the State-subsidised cost-rental system, rents are based on the cost of building, managing and maintaining the homes, not market rates. The scheme is aimed at workers who earn too much to qualify for social housing supports but who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market. Eligible income limits for applicants were last year increased to €66,000, after tax, in Dublin. Tenants also have long-term security, with leases running to several years available.

While the rents for the Bluebell scheme will not be confirmed until it nears completion, nearby cost-rental developments in west Dublin have offered apartments at rents 30 per cent below market rates.

The Grand Canal was built in the late 18th century as a transport route, but also to provide a reliable water source for Dublin and the Guinness Brewery at James’s Gate, where there was a harbour, a city basin and the canal’s original terminus.

Water was taken from the canal at the fifth lock into filter beds, brick-lined ponds which allowed sediment to link to the bottom. The water was used to make Guinness into the 20th century.

The LDA will today begin consultation on the Bluebell Waterways scheme and intends to submit a planning application before the end of this year.

“This consultation provides residents, businesses and community groups with the opportunity to see the details of the proposed development – everything from a typical floor plan for the homes to a characteristic streetscape – capturing what the final neighbourhood could look like,” said Phelim O’Neill, LDA head of property.

Dave Dinningan, director of housing delivery with the council, said the project would “revitalise the Dublin 12 area by supporting existing services while creating a safe and social environment, with new community amenities for existing and future residents”.

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