Eastern bypass plans could scupper film studio prospects

Road ‘reservation corridor’ required in new Poolbeg development zone

The Irish Glass Bottle site. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

The Irish Glass Bottle site. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Lands for the development of the eastern bypass motorway must be preserved within the new Poolbeg development zone, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has told An Bord Pleanála.

Plans for the controversial bypass, which would make the M50 a fully circular route, could scupper any prospect of a film studio in the Poolbeg zone and sterilise the lands from permanent commercial developments for several years.

An Bord Pleanála is holding a public hearing on Dublin City Council’s plans for a fast-track development of up to 3,500 apartments in a new Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) centred on the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Poolbeg.

Helen Hughes, representing State transport organisation TII, said the need for a “reservation corridor” for the bypass and a south port access road would not affect the land designated for the apartments, but development would be restricted on neighbouring port lands which were also in the SDZ.

Dublin Bay Studios wants to use eight hectares of the port lands for an €80 million studio complex. The bypass reservation area also cuts through lands occupied by Bissett Engineering on a long-term lease from Dublin Port Company.

The road reservation lands would be suitable for “temporary use only” such as demountable warehousing and port associated storage, until a road alignment was determined, Ms Hughes said. “At present, these is no alignment for the southern port access route and the eastern bypass,” she said.

‘Significant shortcoming’

John Spain, planning consultant representing Bissett, said it was a “very serious and significant shortcoming” that the alignment of the bypass had not been identified and said it should be finalised prior to the board ratifying the SDZ scheme. Bissett also wants sanction for an 18-20 storey building on the lands it occupies, doubling the proposed height for the site.

Jarlath Fitzsimons, senior council for Dublin Port Company, said Lens Media, promoters of the Dublin Bay Studios project, had “no legal or beneficial interest” in the port lands it wants to use for a film studio. The port company said it intended to retain its lands in the SDZ for port use. It also pointed out that Bissett’s lease entitled it to carry out an “engineering business” only.

The bypass was first proposed more than 40 years ago, but has been consistently opposed by local politicians, largely on environmental grounds.

Separately Labour, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politicians urged the board to protect a deal ensuring 900 of the 3,500 apartments would be reserved for social and affordable housing.

Receivers to the glass bottle site have appealed this provision in the SDZ scheme, despite having previously agreed the figure, according to Dublin City Council.

The council said it was in negotiations with receiver David Carson in relation to the agreement, but Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan, and city councillors Dermot Lacey, Labour, and Paddy McCartan, Fine Gael, said the board should ensure the housing deal was protected.