Dublin Port Company opposes housebuilding at Poolbeg

State-owned company urges Dublin City Council to alter city development plan

Poolbeg peninsula: More than a decade ago Dublin City Council produced plans for regenerating the industrial lands at the southeast end of the city for housing. Photograph: The Irish Times/Bryan O’Brien

Poolbeg peninsula: More than a decade ago Dublin City Council produced plans for regenerating the industrial lands at the southeast end of the city for housing. Photograph: The Irish Times/Bryan O’Brien

 

Dublin Port Company wants the city council to scrap plans to develop housing on the company’s lands on Poolbeg peninsula to facilitate the future expansion of the port.

The State-owned company’s chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly has warned it may have to revisit plans to infill 21 hectares (52 acres) of Dublin Bay if the council does not change the city development plan to accommodate the port.

More than a decade ago the council produced plans for regenerating the industrial lands at the southeast end of the city for housing. The plans were advanced in 2009 by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), which said it wanted to develop a new urban quarter on the peninsula, with homes for 10,000 people and office space for 16,000 workers.

The lands included the 25-acre Irish Glass Bottle site, the neighbouring 12-acre Fabrizia site, and other post-industrial sites to the west of the municipal sewage-treatment plant and the controversial Poolbeg incinerator currently under construction, as well as large plots of port-owned lands.

No development progressed on the lands under the DDDA scheme and its planning functions have since transferred back to the council.

Poolbeg regeneration area

The draft Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022 has identified the peninsula as a “strategic development and regeneration area” for mixed use development with an emphasis on employment creation and residential construction.

Development proposals

However the port company said it wants 18 hectares of land in its ownership, which it says are “essential” to the future of the port, to be excluded from the council’s urban development proposals.

In a submission to the council on the draft plan, it says mixed-use development would “seriously compromise the capacity of the Poolbeg Peninsula to fulfil its essential role in supporting the city” and that the council’s redevelopment plans are “not correctly balanced between the requirements for regeneration on the one hand and the essential needs of Dublin Port”.

It added that the DDDA plans had offered an “unrealistic framework for development on the Poolbeg Peninsula particularly by including lands relating to essential port capacity”.

In a follow-up presentation to councillors, Mr O’Reilly said he did not see how the port’s lands were suitable for housing because of their proximity to the incinerator and sewage plant. The company intended to develop its Poolbeg lands in about 10 years’ time, and if it couldn’t it might have to revisit plans which had “environmental issues” he said.

Colossal challenges

“I don’t mean this as a threat in any way, but one of the possible outcomes could be that we should go back and look at the 21 hectares infill. That is a possible outcome that has colossal challenges.”

Mr O’Reilly acknowledged that in 2010 An Bord Pleanála had refused permission for the port’s Dublin Bay infill project. He said the company could put off until 2030 any further discussion of infilling the bay, but only if it was allowed to develop its Poolbeg lands.

The company intends to review its master plan for Dublin port and is expected to begin a public consultation on the review next month.