Dun Laoghaire Harbour unmatched in Europe, planning hearing told


Dun Laoghaire Harbour was unmatched in Europe in terms of stone and craftsmanship, the environmentalist Mr Peter Pearson, told a planning hearing in Dun Laoghaire yesterday.

Speaking at the appeal against permission for a 680-berth marina to be located between the existing ferry terminal and the Coal Harbour, Mr Pearson said that Dun Laoghaire Harbour had a unique architectural heritage which had been ignored by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) associated with the scheme.

Mr Pearson said that since the harbour was developed in the mid-1840s "development has taken place on the foreshore in single-storey buildings which were carefully planned so as not to obstruct the visual amenity or public access to the waterfront".

He particularly took issue with the creation of a marine service building in the harbour and the erection of two breakwaters in the vicinity of the Coal Harbour and the West Pier.

"In context, it is not acceptable to build a spur in boulder stone from the West Pier. Everywhere else you look there is stone, cut stone and shaped stone."

For An Taisce, Mr John O'Sullivan said the Harbour Company's approach "is that all available car parking in the harbour area is there to service the marina, but this takes absolutely no account of other harbour users."

He also revealed that "in 10 years of official reports there has never been a detailed analysis of who uses the car-parking facilities" and he suggested that in this light any development whatsoever, was "premature".

The potential of the marina to attract the type of wealthy international yachtsmen and women was also seriously curtailed by the marina's allocation of only 50 berths out of 680, for tourists, he added.

A senior planner with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Mr Ciaran Treacy, said the planning authority had "not entered into an assessment of various options as this was never our brief. The planning authority was presented with an application and we had to consider only it on its merits".

Mr Treacy also referred to an arrangement where the car-park at the county hall was made available to harbour users on Thursday and Tuesday nights; this was an arrangement which he felt might be extended to marina users.

In relation to the generation of traffic, Mr Treacy said that the planning authority had no responsibility for traffic management on the eastern side of the railway line. The hearing continues today.