Planned Luas line delays regeneration of flats

 

THE PLANNED regeneration of the Dublin City Council flats at Dominick Street has been put on hold because of a possible conflict with the proposed cross-city Luas line.

In late 2010, the council lodged plans with An Bord Pleanála for a €60 million regeneration of its flat complexes at O’Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street.

The estates were two of five schemes in the city which were to have been redeveloped under a public-private partnership (PPP) deal between developer Bernard McNamara and the council.

The deal with Mr McNamara collapsed in May 2008. The following December the council said that it would rebuild social housing in the three largest estates: St Michael’s, O’Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street.

Work on St Michael’s estate is under way. Last August the council got permission from An Bord Pleanála for O’Devaney Gardens, and is in talks with voluntary housing bodies in relation to the provision of new housing.

However, despite having applied for the Dominick Street project at the same time, no decision was received from the planning board. The council had expected a decision last December or early January. It has now been informed by the board that no decision will be made until after the application for the Luas BXD has been concluded.

The Government last November chose to proceed with the development of the Luas BXD line, from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge Station in Cabra, and to shelve Metro North and the Dart Underground.

The Luas line is the only one of the three rail projects yet to secure planning permission. An Bord Pleanála last month wrote to the RPA saying it had concerns about the “sequencing” of the rail projects.

The Luas was originally planned to start after the completion of Metro North and Dart Underground. The board said it had reservations about the acceptability of suspending the Luas or making its infrastructure redundant where it intersects with the other lines, if those projects go ahead in the future.

A spokesman for the board said it was not possible to say when a decision would be made in relation to the Luas, but he said a decision on Dominick Street could not be made be until after the Luas application had been determined because of issues related to “carriageway alignment”. If the Luas goes ahead it would run along Dominick Street.

Independent councillor Christy Burke said residents of the 1970s flats lived in deplorable conditions and continuing to delay the regeneration was unacceptable.

“This is just another blow to the tenants who have endured so much disappointment. Families are living in cramped, damp flats and I don’t believe people working for An Bord Pleanála would live in these conditions.”

Any changes that needed to be made to track or roadway alignments could be made at a later date, Mr Burke said. “This whole project can’t be held hostage by the Luas. Let’s get on with it, make a decision, and if alterations have to be made later, then so be it.”