Advert sites to fund bike scheme approved

Tue, Jul 27, 2010, 01:00

ADVERTISING FIRM JC Decaux is being given permission by Dublin City Council to erect five new advertising structures in the city to fund the expansion of the Dublin bikes scheme.

Councillors last night approved the construction of advertising display units, similar in size to bus shelter advertising, at Lower Mount Street and Nassau Street on the south side and North Earl Street on the north side of the city.

The have also given approval for two “metropoles” – larger panels of 7sq m on poles two metres off the ground – at Merrion Road and Lower Gardiner Street.

JC Decaux will have permission to advertise at these sites for 15 years.

In return, it will increase the number of stands where bikes can be picked up and dropped off from 795 to 1,087, increase bicycle numbers from 450 to 550, and set up four new stations at Smithfield, Eccles Street, Harcourt Terrace and Charlemont Mall.

When the scheme, which has been running since September, was originally being set up, JC Decaux had to apply to An Bord Pleanála for the advertising structures. The board rejected one-fifth of the company’s applications.

This time the council is using a provision of the planning acts known as “Part 8” which allows councillors to directly approve certain local authority works, bypassing the normal planning process.

The schemes were opposed by An Taisce who said they were “misuse of a Part 8 by a local authority to facilitate a private development”.

An Taisce said it was completely in favour of the bicycles but the use of Part 8 was depriving any third parties the right of appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

The huge popularity of the scheme, which already has more than 30,000 subscribers, had resulted in an urgent need for its expansion, the council said.

However the extra bikes and stations would cost an estimated €6.6 million, which it could not fund from its own resources.