FINE GAEL GOVERNMENT ADVANCES O’DEVANEY GARDENS REDEVELOPMENT
Last December, I along with Minister Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney announced that our Fine Gael Government was investing almost €18m in the redevelopment of O’Devaney Gardens. This money will enable the first phase of a mixed tenure development which has been the subject of discussions between Ministers Coveney, Donohoe, myself and other Councillors to secure 30% social, 20% affordable and 50% private development of these lands of 584 homes altogether. Two processes in parallel are now being advanced by Dublin City Council in order to advance the building of these new homes. Firstly, in terms of moving forward with the €17.8m funding provided by our Fine Gael Government to build the first 56 social housing units, 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 the lands on O’Devaney Gardens, the Housing Department of Dublin City Council expects to publicly advertise its intentions shortly to gain the interest of contractors and developers. This will guide how quickly the Council can move forward on developing the remainder of the site. Dublin City Council has also established a Community Consultative Forum, which I co-Chair. The purpose of the Forum is to serve as a mechanism to ensure the community is kept up to date on the progress of the redevelopment but also to work with the various contractors and City Council officials to help contribute to and shape the redevelopment.
OPPORTUNITY FOR CITY COUNCIL TENANTS TO DOWN-SIZE
Dublin City Council is currently undertaking some work to establish whether individuals living in Council accommodation may wish to relocate to alternative housing. In particular, the City Council is eager to hear from those tenants who may find feel that the home they currently live in, is too big for their needs and may wish to downsize. If you are 55 years or older and would be interested in downsizing and moving to accommodation like St. Bricin’s Court which is currently being refurbished, please email email@example.com for additional information. Alternatively, you can contact me and I will answer any questions or queries that you may have.
MONTPELIER HILL PLANNING APPLICATION (3772/16)
Dublin City Council, despite the many observations of local residents, has granted planning permission for the proposed student accommodation complex on Montpelier Hill. While the planning statement contains nineteen separate conditions, little consideration appears to have been given by the Planning officials to the concerns highlighted in the observations lodged by residents in Montpelier Court, St. Bricin’s Park and Palatine Square. Many specific issues remain to be addressed including:
• Proposed height of development
• Boundary wall finishes
• Traffic Management
• Local parking provision
Therefore, a further appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala requesting that the Board review the decision taken by Dublin City Council in respect of these outstanding issues. I share the concerns raised by local residents and have contributed to the An Bord Pleanala appeal. It is my strong view that an Oral Hearing be held to allow individual residents explain how exactly this proposed development will impact upon their ability to enjoy their own home. Let me assure you that I will continue to work with the local community to ensure that we secure balanced development across Montpelier and Infirmary Road area.
CANTOR SITE REDEVELOPMENT (2708/11)
At a recent meeting with residents in Arbour Hill, concern was raised with me about the agreed traffic management plan for the Cantor site redevelopment. Difficulties have occurred with the volume of Heavy Good Vehicles using Montpelier Hill where traffic has been blocked in both directions during morning rush hour. I have therefore requested the Transportation Department of the Council to investigate whether 5(i) of the Traffic Management Plan has been breached. Furthermore, I have asked for Traffic Engineers to meet with me and local residents on site to discuss how we can resolve the situation. Given the decision of the City Planners for the Montpelier Hill site, it is important to get right plans to manage construction and normal day to day traffic.
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.
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 Montpelier and along Infirmary Road. 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 local 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, 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, local 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 Montpelier and Infirmary Road area.
ST. BRICIN’S COURT REFURBISHMENT WORKS – PROJECT REPORT
Dublin City Council’s refurbishment of the St. Bricin’s Court 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 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.
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee