Dublin Docklands Oversight and Consultative Forum, set up to monitor the fast-track planning district, is also seeking the removal of the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) designation from the area to allow more homes to be built.
In its final report at the end of its second three-year term, the Government-appointed body said the existing city garda stations are no longer sufficient to protect the area and that its own station is needed.
The east inner city area is “severely impacted by the growing levels of crime in the city,” it said. “Pearse Street and Store Street stations lie outside the Docklands area. Consequently, policing in Docklands is insufficient to make a meaningful impact on growing levels of antisocial behaviour.”
While the forum acknowledged the “policing efforts of existing stations”, it added that “the current Garda resourcing for the Docklands area is not delivering a safe environment for many of the business, local communities and visitors”.
The report from the forum, which includes representatives of Dublin City Council, several public bodies, and business and community organisations, was completed before the recent riots in the inner city.
The Docklands area has reached a population of some 27,000, with a further 44,000 people working within in the area and more than 300,000 visiting it annually. “This increase in population and activity has not seen an equivalent increase in Garda resources for the area,” the report said.
In response to queries from The Irish Times, An Garda Síochána said the forum’s “recommendation is noted and will be examined by Garda management”. It said a new Garda station had opened in Dublin Port last month and “in addition to providing immigration checks, gardaí also provide a general policing service”.
Any new Garda station “is dependent on the long-term capital budget made available to An Garda Síochána by Government and the overall delivery plans of the OPW [Office of Public Works].”
The forum also said the fast-track planning SDZ designation, which was drafted in 2013 in the wake of the property crash to govern the development of the docklands was “no longer fit for purpose”. It sets out the development parameters, including heights for the area, and once a developer is granted permission to build in the zone, that permission cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
The housing target set at the time was based on a requirement for some 2,600 apartments. While this was 97 per cent completed, it was insufficient to deal with the “chronic shortage” of homes that had developed. Just 146 social housing units have been provided, far below the need for social and affordable housing. The forum estimates between 25,000 and 50,000 apartments are required to address the needs of new office workers and the local population.
The forum was established in 2017 following the abolition of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA). A 2012 report by the Comptroller & Auditor General had found serious shortcomings in the conduct of the DDDA’s planning and development functions, particularly in relation to the purchase of the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend. A decision was made to transfer the docklands planning powers to Dublin City Council, with the forum advising the council on their implementation.
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