Council to discuss planning history of Carlton site

 

Pressure mounted on Dublin City Council officials last night to explain in detail an agreement reached for the development of the historic 1916 Moore Street site following a TG4 documentary broadcast last month.

A special meeting has been scheduled to explore the issue of the “Carlton site” area off O’Connell Street which has remained undeveloped following at least 14 years of protracted planning issues.

TG4’s programme, Iniúchadh Oidhreacht na Cásca, investigated the nature of a deal struck between council officials and a developer hoping to regenerate the site.

At a meeting of the council last night, a five-page document was circulated to councillors setting out the planning history.

In 1998, permission was granted to the Carlton Group for a commercial development. Three years later, concerned over delays in development, the council applied a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to the site.

This was unsuccessfully challenged in the High Court and appealed to the Supreme Court in 2005 and 2007. In 2008, a planning application was lodged by another company, Chartered Land, for a major new development. This was given permission by An Bord Pleanála in 2010.

Due to the protected nature of the buildings – listed as a national monument in 2007 – Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan has yet to give his consent for works to begin.

The TG4 documentary focused on a “secret deal” with developer Joe O’Reilly and why the council signed a clause that would allow it to buy the land back at a potentially higher price.

“It is important to note that this was at all times an open and transparent process,” the document informed councillors. It said it was prudent to enter into an agreement with Mr O’Reilly given his company’s ownership of other sites in the immediate area, “all of which he had the intention of developing”.

Some of the agreement was discussed in private as it was subject to a High Court challenge at the time and was therefore sub judice.

Councillors agreed to a special meeting to be held on November 19th after which the commissioning of an independent report will be considered.