Calls for extension to Phoenix Park review deadline

Green Party councillor claims proposal constitutes a considerable overdevelopment

 The OPW has put forward proposals for several new visitor attractions in the Phoenix Park including a funicular train, a driverless shuttle-bus, and the redevelopment of the Ashtown visitor centre. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The OPW has put forward proposals for several new visitor attractions in the Phoenix Park including a funicular train, a driverless shuttle-bus, and the redevelopment of the Ashtown visitor centre. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Calls have been made for the Office of Public Works (OPW) to extend the deadline for submissions on the Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review, which ends at 5pm on Friday.

Several groups and individuals, including Labour TD Joan Burton and the Green Party have called for the public to be given extra time to consider the proposals which would see the most significant change to the park for decades.

The OPW has put forward proposals for several new visitor attractions including a funicular train, a driverless shuttle-bus, the redevelopment of the Ashtown visitor centre, and the Magazine Fort, as well as extensive additional car parking and new retail facilities.

More than 3,000 people have made a submission to the OPW using a template drafted by Green Party councillor Neasa Hourigan which raises concerns about the amount of retail development suggested for the park, the quantum of car parking proposed, and the inadequate focus on wildlife and biodiversity.

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The submission says that the proposal “constitutes a considerable overdevelopment of our green space within the historic park boundary”.

It also notes the review makes reference to reproducing the parking methods used for the Bloom garden festival in a “more permanent form”.

“The car parking facilities used during Bloom are vast intrusions into the natural landscape of the park. It is incredible that the OPW would propose to make these a permanent feature,” the submission states.

Ms Hourigan said online access should have been available to the full review document, and not just an to an executive summary. “At the very minimum the submission deadline should be extended and the full document should be publicly available online.”

Ms Burton said the public had been given an “extraordinarily brief” time to review the document.

“At the outset, I have to object to the extraordinarily brief time allocated for the public consultation and the limited opportunity for local committees and residents to fully view a document of such length and importance. Even at this stage I urge that a series of town hall type meetings be convened to fully explain the suggestions made in the document.”

The strategic document can be read at phoenixpark.ie