STONEYBATTER ROAD IMPROVEMENT WORKS 2017
Twelve months ago, I reported to you that the Roads Maintenance Division of Dublin City Council agreed to undertake a programme of rolling improvements to Stoneybatter roads and footpaths. 2016 saw works take place on Sigurd Road, Ivor Street, Halliday Road and a new footpath built along Arbour Hill. Following representations I made in recent months, funding has been secured to undertake works enhancing the quality of road surface on Sitric Road, Ard Righ Place, Aughrim Street (between St. Joseph’s Road and the junction with Manor Street) and on Manor Street itself. I have also secured money to enable the footpaths between Arbour Hill Church and Manor Street to be rebuilt. The total cost of these improvement works is €166,000 and tenders will shortly be sought by the City Council to enable the improvements to begin across the summer.
DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL FURTHER BLOCKS STONEYBATTER LOCAL AREA PLAN
The recent Stoneybatter Matters public meeting organised by myself and Minister Paschal Donohoe heard from numerous local residents who support our argument for a statutory Stoneybatter Local Area Plan. Such a plan would provide the framework for the redevelopment of the Stoneybatter area and allow local residents to have a direct say in how each major site in the district would be developed. Following that meeting, I asked the Chief Executive of Dublin City Council “to prioritise the development and compilation of a statutory based Local Area Plan for the Stoneybatter area on foot of his Planning Department’s decision to encourage and grant planning permission for purpose built student accommodation on six of the ten key development sites across Stoneybatter?” Sadly, but not surprisingly, the City Council ignored the need for a balanced approach to development in Stoneybatter by simply trotting the same line that City Planners have for the past four to five years. If the same Planners had actually listened to advocates like myself, a statutory Local Area Plan would now be in place detailing the type of development on the key sites across Stoneybatter. Councillors have the power to overturn the Chief Executive’s decision and I will be seeking support from all parties, including those parties that run the Council to support our call in Stoneybatter for a balanced approach to development through the establishment and compilation of a Stoneybatter Local Area Plan.
KNOW WHERE YOU STAND ON THE LIFFEY CYCLE ROUTE
Dublin City Council has been advancing plans to develop a dedicated cycle route along the North Quays. The preferred option being pursued by the Council involves the removal of private vehicles between Mellowes Bridge (Queen Street) and Fr. Mathew Bridge (Church Street). Council officials propose redirecting this traffic up Blackhall Place and onto North Brunswick Street, North King Street and back onto Constitution Hill and Church Street. Since this proposal was first mooted last October, I have expressed my serious reservations given how detrimental an impact it will have on the Stoneybatter area. What is being proposed, will see between 400 and 600 cars per hours being redirected from the Quays through our neighbourhood. While I am in favour of safe cycling amenities, I am equally opposed to a major reorganisation of traffic in the city that negatively impacts the quality of life for Stoneybatter residents. What concerns me further is that the Transportation Department of Dublin City Council has only now started a traffic impact assessment on Stoneybatter based on the details contained in Option 7. It beggars belief, in my view, that the Council is only examining how Stoneybatter, but also Arbour Hill, Montpelier and Infirmary Road areas, will be impacted by removing private cars from a stretch of the Quays and re-directing them through Stoneybatter. To date, Stoneybatter residents have not yet been properly consulted by the City Council on its preferred option for the Liffey Cycle Route. One silver lining, I can report, is that the Chief Executive committed to me, at the March City Council meeting, that if proceeds to seek planning permission for this proposal, he will seek the permission from City Councillors. That means I have secured a statutory consultation with the community and any interested parties before Councillors decide whether to approve or reject the proposal. As it currently stands, I will not be able to support Option 7 as it will, in my view, have such a negative impact on the Stoneybatter area.
O’DEVANEY GARDENS – REDEVELOPMENT ADVANCING
Two processes in parallel are now being advanced by Dublin City Council in order to redevelop O’Devaney Gardens. In terms of moving forward with the €17.8m funding provided by our Fine Gael Government to build the first 56 social housing units, I expect tenders to be issued in May. All going to plan, a contractor should then be selected and on site by the second half of 2017. With regards to the remainder of redevelopment plan, the Housing Department expects to publicly advertise its intentions shortly to gain the interest of contractors and developers. A detailed programme of works will be shared with the O’Devaney Gardens Consultative Forum, which I co-chair, when it meets early next month. I will provide more updates on O’Devaney Gardens across the coming weeks.
FUTURE USE OF ADELPHI HOUSE, 153 NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD
There continues to be much speculation locally about the future use of Adelphi House by the Health Services Executive (HSE). Recently, Minister Donohoe and I wrote to Simon Harris T.D., Minister for Health requesting that he intervene with the HSE so that their intentions for the future use of Adelphi House is made clearer. Minister Harris has since responded stating that the HSE is currently “considering locating autism day services and team network services in Adelphi House”. I welcome Minister Harris’ intervention and the clarity he has brought to the matter. Be assured that Minister Donohoe and I will continue to work with the Minister for Health and the HSE to make sure the local community is fully informed as to the future plans of the HSE for Adelphi House.
It is great to see the Multi-Use Games Area in Drumalee re-open. Since the facility opened on a daily basis again, there has been no recurrence of the vandalism that blighted it use originally. I hope this positive news continues and I will work with local residents to make sure all necessary steps are taken to ensure this amenity continues to provide a safe environment for local kids to play and that it remains vandalism free!
ST. BRICIN’S PARK REFURBISHMENT WORKS – PROJECT REPORT
Dublin City Council’s refurbishment of the St. Bricin’s Park senior citizens complex is advancing well. Residents have already moved into their new homes in the first block, located closest to Palatine Square. Construction works on Block 3 are progressing on time and it is expected that they will be ready for letting towards the end of the summer. The final phase of the project will see the middle block stripped out to allow contractors start on providing new one bedroom apartments for senior citizens. While the Council has not yet finalised a start date for construction work on the middle block, it is hoped that all works will be completed by December next.
DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL’S HOUSING ASSESSMENT OF NEED – DEADLINE LOOMING!!
Last Summer, the Housing Department of Dublin City Council began a process of reviewing the housing list. The purpose of this review was twofold. Firstly, to make sure the Council’s records were fully up to date. Secondly, to ensure those who previously applied for housing, still need and want to be considered for housing with Dublin City Council. Therefore, all applicants were written to and asked to complete an updated housing assessment of need. The Housing Department wrote to applicants on two further occasions requesting that the assessment of need be completed and returned. Anyone who previously applied for housing but failed to respond to the questionnaire, now run the risk of being removed from the housing list. So, if you did not fill out the housing assessment of need last year, you have until MARCH 31st to complete it and return the application to Dublin City Council. If you have any questions or queries about the housing assessment of need, please get in touch with me. If you miss this chance, you will have no choice but to make a fresh application with Dublin City Council.
SOCIAL WELFARE PAYMENTS – INCREASES TAKE EFFECT!
Increases to social welfare payment announced in the Budget last October by local Minister, Paschal Donohoe T.D. are now coming into effect. Recipients of the Carers’ Allowance and the State Pension received the €5 increase last week. Recipients of other payments including Jobseekers’ Allowance, Illness Benefit and Disability Allowance will see their payments increased this week. For many in receipt of a social welfare payment, this increase is the first since 2009. Our Fine Gael Government is committed to ensuring that the proceeds of our improving economy are experienced by everyone in society.
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee