The Land Development Agency has estimated that in excess of 1,200 new homes can be built on the Central Mental Hospital site in Dundrum in Dublin 14.

The Land Development Agency was set up by the Government to unlock state land for new homes.

It said today that the HSE is due to vacate the hospital facility later this year, with patients and staff transferring to a new purpose-built facility in Portrane in Co Dublin. 

The LDA has appointed a design team to progress the development of the 11.5 hectare site, which will consist of newly built homes on the grounds of the Central Mental Hospital and the repurposing of the existing hospital buildings.

The design team will be headed by Irish firm Reddy Architecture & Urbanism, supported by international design consultancy Tyréns and a number of Irish consultancies.

The LDA expects to lodge a planning application in the middle of 2021 and, subject to An Bord Pleanála approval, to begin construction in early 2022.

It also said it will schedule an intensive programme of community engagement and public consultation to ensure that the development takes account of the needs and concerns of the local community.

The Land Development Agency's chief executive John Coleman said the project is a "truly unique and exciting opportunity to open up a historic piece of land that has been closed off and inaccessible to the wider community since the 1800s". 

"We plan to transform the Dundrum and Windy Arbour area for the better with a landmark sustainable and inclusive new neighbourhood of in excess of 1,200 new homes, incorporating significant period buildings and mature landscaped grounds," Mr Coleman said. 

"Given the immediate proximity to quality transport nodes including LUAS stations and high-frequency bus routes, sustainability principles will form a major part of the brief to the top-tier design team that we have appointed," he added.

On the outbreak of Covid-19, John Coleman said that while the public health and economic challenges posed to society by Covid-19 are immense, the need for quality affordable homes will not recede in the near term and the LDA remains as determined as ever to accelerate the provision of more homes urgently.

He said the LDA and its design teams are fully engaged using remote working, adding that it is pressing ahead with all delivery programme stages, such as feasibility, design and planning on its projects, to get as many sites as possible shovel ready in the quickest possible timeframe.

"In addition to our existing portfolio of land, we continue to work with local authorities and other landowners to activate more sites with a focus on the provision of affordable homes. We are also pushing ahead with hiring new staff to support our work and have a number of roles open that are listed on our website," Mr Coleman said.