New Priory allows many to realise their dream of a home but not all agree

‘For over 200 local people Priory Hall was a most stressful nightmare that lasted too long before the government of the day and Dublin City Council came to an agreement to take over the development and refurbish it.’
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Pre-refurbishment Priory Hall
 
‘Part of the agreement reached with all parties, those owner-occupiers, those buy-to-lets and DCC itself, was that the original tenure balance be retained. This effectively meant that the same number of units owned by DCC would be retained by DCC, the owners of the buy-to-lets had a stay on their mortgage and would return to rent their apartments and pay off their mortgages once refurbished and those units owner privately would be sold on the open market to those wishing to but a new home’
‘In September DCC presented the first phase, 60 units, of the refurbishment to the Council chamber for disposal. All DCC owned property proposed for sale must be approved by local councillors. In order to carry out the refurbishment works DCC had to take all units into its ownership so technically while it did not own the property it still had to present the units for approval for disposal.’
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Post-refurbishment
‘Recognising the long social housing waiting lists in the local area I proposed an amendment to the proposal seeking to increase the DCC allocation of social housing from 20% to 30% and seeking that 30% of the owner occupier units be sold to those on lower incomes, those that would qualify for the DCC Home Purchase Loan (a DCC Mortgage for low/mid income earners). Others proposed full retention for social housing. The DCC manager emphasised that any change would mean the re-opening of the agreement and for some the re-opening of a time they would rather forget. He indicated that a significant change to the original agreement would not be achievable but he would do his utmost to achieve a small % increase in the social housing allocation.’
 
‘All of the 43 units were reasonably priced and offered on the market with a sales campaign that aimed at first time buyers. This afternoon’s North Central Area meeting was presented with the list of units sold and a request to approve their sale. Seeking assurances from DCC that the units would be sold to people as homes rather than as investments for rental purposes I met last week with DCC officials charged with the development. There were 3 companies named as purchasers of 5 units. However, it was indicated that these were bought for family members related to the company owners. I was therefore reasonably assured that they would be rented out but rather occupied by owner-related families’
building, mortgage, real estate and property concept - close up
 
‘However, not everyone at the meeting could see the value in giving local people the chance to buy a home. Instead of seeking to know the details behind the company names  DCC was accused of selling the units to investment funds and berated for not retaining all the units as social housing. After a vote, respect of the original agreement and acknowledgement that sustainable tenure supports sustainable communities finally won out. However, no doubt we will debate the matter again at December’s main Council meeting’
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