- 92% of residents in RED C poll say people are being forced to leave due to price of housing
- Over one in ten say they are stuck in unwanted rental or living with parents
- Council Chief Executive claims there is “no evidence-based need” for affordable housing
- 70% say there would be strong demand for senior living accommodation
According to research by polling company RED C, residents in the Howth/Sutton area believe high property prices are forcing young people to move away, with a large majority supporting the need for the provision of affordable housing in the affluent suburb.
The research also shows 93% of respondents believe that housing is too expensive for most young people to buy in the area, and 92% agreed that people are being forced to move away because of the high price of property. Over one in ten (12%) say they are being forced to live with parents or continue to rent because they cannot afford to buy.
House prices in north county Dublin rose 20% in the quarter to the end of June, with rents up 14%, and it is estimated that the minimum price of a three-bedroom house in the area is at least €600,000. Survey respondents (80%) agreed that little or no affordable housing has been built in the Howth/Sutton area for over 20 years.
86% of residents agreed that there is a strong demand for more affordable housing options in Howth/Sutton, rising to 95% in the cohort aged under 40. Almost two thirds (64%) said they would be interested in being offered affordable homes in the area for themselves or their extended family.
The research was independently conducted by RED C on behalf of Tetrarch, which has committed to giving Circle Housing, a leading Approved Housing Body, a 6.5 acre parcel of land it owns on the Carrickbrack Road in Sutton for the development of 150 affordable homes. The majority of these homes would be made available to local buyers for less than €300,000, with some of the homes available on a cost rental basis. 81% of people surveyed said the proposed price level was either “good” or “amazing”.
Circle has submitted a request for rezoning to Fingal County Council as part of the draft Development Plan submission process, but the chief executive’s subsequent report on submissions stated that “there is no evidence-based need” for new affordable housing in Howth/Sutton, claimed the council has “significant and sufficient quantum of zoned lands” to meet future needs, and concluded that “it is not within the remit of the development plan to identify specific sites for the provision of social and affordable housing”.
Senior living scheme
The chief executive’s report has also dismissed Tetrarch’s separate plans to develop a senior living scheme on a separate 10-acre parcel of land stating that this would lead to “unsustainable patterns of development and cause serious detrimental impacts to the area” despite the proposed development being adjacent to existing housing and extremely close to the centre of Howth.
The research conducted by RED C showed 70% of respondents agreeing that there would be strong demand for a senior living development in Howth/Sutton if a scheme was built. 68% of respondents acknowledged that a large proportion of homes in the area are occupied by empty nesters, who have no local options if they wish to trade down to housing that would be more appropriate for an older person.
Section 47 agreement
Countering concerns expressed that Tetrarch might obtain rezoning and then develop the sites for homes to sell at market rates, the company has committed to sign a Section 47 agreement with Fingal Council conditioning that any rezoned land on Howth Estate could only be used for the agreed purpose. Tetrarch has also entered into a legal agreement on with Circle Housing that will ensure the use of the particular land for this purpose.
Michael McElligott, Principal of Tetrarch, said: “The RED C research provides very clear evidence that there is huge demand and need for affordable housing in the Howth/Sutton area, which hasn’t benefited from any meaningful housing delivery by the council in over 20 years. Our proposal will give locals exactly what they are crying out for, with a price point of €300,000 that is less than half what a typical family home would cost in the area. The proposed development will ensure that 150 families do not have to move to other areas of Fingal.
“Given the current housing crisis, the lack of local social or affordable housing delivery by the council and the clear feedback from local residents, it is very concerning for the chief executive to state that ‘it is not within the remit of the development plan to identify specific sites for the provision of social and affordable housing’.
“The chief executive’s opposition to our senior living plans is also very disappointing given the research also provides clear evidence of the acute need for such housing. Howth and Sutton have amongst the country’s most ageing populations and yet there are no clear or meaningful plans to provide appropriate housing in the new Fingal Development Plan. The needs of the growing senior populations of Howth and Sutton continue to be overlooked in the draft development plan.
“We are now urging councillors in Fingal to look closely at this very important research and recognise that the status quo is very clearly failing the residents of Howth/Sutton. We would ask Councillors to consider the position of the silent majority who have found a voice in the report from RED C and clearly want things to change.
Michael McElligott said that rezoning 16.5 acres across an estate totalling over 470 acres would facilitate the delivery of critical housing for which there is a clear, evidence-based need.
“The extent of the proposed rezoning is modest and should be viewed in the context of our ambitious plans to regenerate the entirety of Howth Estate for the benefit of all who live in the area.”
Howth Estate plans
The affordable housing and senior living project form part of Tetrarch’s wider plans for the regeneration of the 472-acre Howth Estate, which will include restoration of Howth Castle, a new hotel and significant capital investment to create 6km of new paths, trails and cycleways/greenways.