Naas Road could provide housing for 85,000, forum hears

Replacement of showrooms and warehouses in ‘City Edge’ to stop ‘Los Angelino Dublin’

The Naas Road is the “obvious place to grow the city. The alternative is we end up with a Los Angelino Dublin which is spread out over 75-mile radius into the countryside.”  Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The Naas Road is the “obvious place to grow the city. The alternative is we end up with a Los Angelino Dublin which is spread out over 75-mile radius into the countryside.” Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

Car showrooms and warehouses will have to make way for homes on 700 hectares of west Dublin industrial lands in what will be the largest regeneration project in the State.

Plans to redevelop the industrial estates along the Naas Road, which could provide enough homes for a population the size of the city of Galway, are being devised by Dublin City and South Dublin County Councils.

The lands, which are almost equivalent in size to Dublin’s city centre, are inside the M50 ring next to established suburbs such Walkinstown, Crumlin and Ballyfermot and could provide enough homes for 75,000-85,000 people.

While completion of these 40,000 homes is expected to take 30-40 years, the first 4,000 already have planning permission and could be built within the next five years, the councils said.

The local authorities, which both govern the area now branded the City Edge, envisage the district remaining a high employment zone with the potential for up to 75,000 jobs. However, Paul Hogan, chief planner at the Department of Housing, told a conference on the project on Wednesday that low employment industrial uses would need to be replaced by housing.

Urban quarter

“The reality is Dublin needs to produce 10,000- 11,000 houses and apartments every year. We’re falling 4,000-5,000 short of that,” he said. “Do we want people and housing to move further out for some less efficient uses like warehousing, and car showrooms?”

Mr Hogan said there would be significant State involvement in the development of the new urban quarter. “There is a need for the State to be more actively involved in large-scale regeneration projects. Delivery is the area where we need to step up.”

The answer to the “chicken and egg argument” was clear he said. “In the past you would ask, do you build the new railway first or wait until the people are there and then do it when you have a critical mass? I certainly believe that to do it properly you have to take that risk, you do have to put the infrastructure there first.”

New Rathmines

Tony Reddy, director of Reddy Architecture and Urbanism, said the project would benefit from a dedicated development agency.

“Good examples of urban regeneration usually have a single-purpose agency, whether that’s a subset of the local authorities or, more often, an independent authority with powers to deliver. That’s key to the success of this initiative.”

This type of agency had already been used in a “small scale” in Temple Bar and Ballymun, he said. “The Dublin Docklands Development Authority is probably the closest model, but this is a much more challenging project.”

The Naas Road was the “obvious place to grow the city”, he said. “The alternative is we end up with a Los Angelino Dublin which is spread out over 75-mile radius into the countryside, is low-density and is car-based.

“This vision has the potential to create sustainable community that has all of the services in close proximity.” It could become, he said, “the modern version of Rathmines or Rathgar or a Drumcondra”.