Homes plan for Player factory site faces delay over court case

Long-standing plans to deliver hundreds of new homes on the site of the former Player Wills cigarette factory on Dublin's South Circular Road have come up against yet another obstacle.

Documents lodged in the High Court showed the site's Nama-appointed receivers, Paul McCann and Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton, are locked in legal proceedings in an effort to remove a company operating a salvage business from the site.

The case relating to the tenancy rights of BG Salvage has been in train since December 22 last year, court records show.

An application for a ruling on the matter is due to be considered by the High Court on December 4.

Efforts to contact the receivers and the owner of BG Salvage for comment were unsuccessful.

Rebecca Moynihan

While the dispute is not expected to delay the timing of the sale of the Player Wills site, for around €90m, the prospective buyer will have to submit a new planning application before proceeding with any development.

The original, lapsed planning permission provided for a one million square foot mixed-use scheme.

Haven

It comprised 754 apartments, offices, retail space, a school, two creches, a medical centre, leisure centre and swimming pool on the site.

Extending to 4.32 hectares, the South Circular Road site comprises the former John Player factory and Bailey Gibson industrial premises, and is widely considered to be one of the few remaining high-quality development sites in the centre of Dublin.

Yesterday, Dublin city councillors unanimously backed a motion that would see the former cigarette factory turned into a state-owned residential haven in the heart of Dublin.

Members of the council's South Central Area Committee backed a motion that called on Dublin City Council (DCC) to transfer the site to state ownership in order to develop it as social and affordable housing.

The motion, introduced by Labour Party councillor Rebecca Moynihan, would see DCC "initiate discussions with the Department of Housing and other government agencies to transfer the land on the Player Wills' site on the South Circular Road for cost rental and affordable housing, to be developed by DCC".

"It is now the time for DCC to develop it with cost rental housing and appropriate community facilities," it read.

"We further ask that all land owned by Nama be retained and developed by the State for public and genuinely affordable housing and community amenities."

Speaking to the Herald last night, Ms Moynihan said the motion was needed to prevent the Nama-owned site from falling into the hands of private, for-profit developers.

The former factory was leased to the producers of TV3 drama Red Rock.

Fears have been expressed that the site would be sold to the highest bidder.

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