– LDA’s largest project to date on the site of Central Mental Hospital

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has submitted a planning application for 977 homes on the site of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin.

The application will progress the redevelopment of the site to deliver affordable and social housing as part of a sustainable and integrated community in a distinctive landscaped setting.

Proposed development

The proposed development will consist of 940 apartments, 17 duplexes and 20 houses, in building sizes ranging from two to seven stories.  The range of homes provided will accommodate people at all stages of life, including families and homes appropriate for older residents. The development will also involve extensive facilities for residents and the wider community, including a community centre with indoor sports facilities, a medical centre, a café and a childcare facility.

LDA masterplan

The LDA’s masterplan is the outcome of a comprehensive four-phase public consultation and engagement process that started in Autumn 2020, which included 25 meetings with local community stakeholders and elected representatives, four online webinars, and responses provided to over 1,000 emails. The masterplan has taken into consideration key issues raised during the consultation – access to green spaces, community infrastructure, reduced car usage/traffic, and sustainability – while seeking to deliver on the overall objectives for this key site.

Under Housing For All, the LDA is the state’s primary channel for the development of cost rental housing with a mission to unlock state land and make more efficient use of it to deliver large-scale affordable housing projects.

The planning application covers 9.6 hectares of the 11.3-hectare site, with the remaining area encompassing the location of the main hospital buildings.

The masterplan’s approach is consistent with the National Planning Framework’s policy objective of compact growth in urban areas. It seeks to deliver on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s Development Plan objectives for the regeneration of this strategic site. There will be a strong emphasis on minimising car use and prioritising pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport, with a network of links across the site, which is located just 450 metres from Windy Arbour Luas station.

The application is accompanied by a full environmental impact assessment Report (EIAR), and the development will incorporate sustainable principles in all aspects of design. The plans have prioritised the inclusion of publicly accessible green spaces:  three hectares (c.30% of the site area) has been allocated to open space to include play areas, extensive greenways, and enhancement of the existing walled garden.

Open space

The proposed development will open up a part of Dublin that has been closed off for 170 years. Parts of the hospital’s existing perimeter wall will be removed to improve public access and permeability. Biodiversity will be prioritised, with the preservation of the vast majority of the site’s existing mature trees and supplementary planting.

John Coleman, CEO of the LDA, commented: “We are excited to be making this planning application for the largest LDA project to date that will showcase our ability to make efficient use of public land to help address the country’s housing shortage. We have taken a proactive approach to engage with the local community, politicians and our partners in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. We received extensive and constructive feedback, and I want to thank all who participated in this process which has informed the Masterplan for Dundrum Central. The support and collaboration of the HSE and OPW throughout the design phase has also made a valuable contribution.

“The site has the potential to be a transformative development with a holistic masterplan that is sensitive to best practice planning in terms of compact growth and sustainable development. We have looked to balance the need to optimise the use of this landmark state-owned site to deliver much-needed housing with the desire to integrate into an existing neighbourhood.

By delivering affordable homes at scale, the LDA will contribute vital housing supply that will help to give a fair deal to the many thousands of people who are struggling in the private market but don’t qualify for social housing.”

History of Central Mental Hospital site

The Central Mental Hospital site was originally opened in 1850 when it was known as the Central Criminal Lunatic Asylum. It was a first of its kind in providing a place for treatment of the mentally ill who had committed a crime. Following the decision of the HSE to transfer operations to a new purpose-built state-of-the-art facility in Portrane, North Dublin, the Government made it available to the LDA for residential redevelopment.

The LDA’s Dundrum Central application has been made to An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) framework.

A website outlining the LDA’s submission and the complete masterplan is available here www.dundrumcentralresidential.ie

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