Council moves on plan to redevelop national rehabilitation hospital

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

Plans to expand biopharmaceutical company Amgen and to redevelop the National Rehabilitation Hospital were put in train by councillors in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown last night. They voted to begin public consultation on a proposal to rezone land that would allow for the multinational and the hospital to carry out development work.

Some 16 hectares of land at Rochestown Avenue and Pottery Road in Dún Laoghaire are to be rezoned under the plan, which has been put forward by Amgen and the adjacent hospital as a joint proposal.

Amgen employs 300 staff at the former Pfizer plant off Pottery Road. The multinational has said its expansion, which would involve investment of €151 million, would create a further 100 jobs.

The redevelopment of the hospital, the national centre in Ireland for primary rehabilitation for adults and children, would provide 235 beds, with 115 beds at first phase.

HSE backing

Most of the 16 hectares are zoned for residential development and, if passed, the variation to the local authority’s county development plan would rezone the land to allow for medical facilities and economic development. The plan would also take in a 1.2 hectare plot, formerly the Workman’s Club lands, currently zoned for open space and amenity.

In a report to councillors last night, county manager Owen Keegan said the rezoning was supported by the Health Service Executive and IDA Ireland.

Any redevelopment of the rehabilitation hospital site would include publicly accessible open space, he said. And homes close to the former Workman’s Club lands would be “respected and protected through sensitive design”.

He also said some land owned by the hospital that was “surplus to requirements” could be sold to Amgen. This would provide “significant funding” to facilitate the development of the hospital.

Councillors welcomed the proposal, but raised some concerns about the lack of detail from Amgen. They also called for community involvement in the plan. Independent councillor Victor Boyhan said the proposal was a “win-win” situation. There was real potential to work with all the parties to get some “community gain”.

Labour councillor Niamh Bhreathnach said the fact the hospital had partnered the rezoning proposal was “quite significant”.

Councillors will make a final decision in the new year after a public consultation.

After polite debate, councillors also voted 17-4 in favour of a motion calling for equal access to marriage for all, irrespective of sexuality.