A chara, – The report just published by the Land Development Agency is indicative of a lack of integrated planning across State agencies (News, March 29th).
On the one hand the National Transport Authority is, quite rightly, pursuing a policy of developing public transport services and infrastructure, much of it based on upgrading bus services. On the other hand, the Land Development Agency identifies five of the eight CIÉ bus depots in Dublin as being potential sites for building “affordable housing”, but is silent on the provision of alternative depot facilities to enable Bus Átha Cliath and Bus Éireann to fulfil their obligations under National Transport Authority contracts in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The significant capital cost of providing alternative depot facilities should be included in any cost-benefit analysis of “affordable housing” on these sites.
The LDA report also targets CIÉ railway property in Dublin at Sheriff Street, Heuston and Inchicore. Caution is required here to ensure that previous mistakes due to a lack of foresight are not repeated. In the not too distant past CIÉ sold land at Maynooth station for housing development, on the basis that it was surplus to operational requirements. In the light of subsequent growth of commuter traffic on this line, and current plans for Dart West, this land would have been an ideal location for park-and-ride ride facilities and a bus interchange. The result is that today Maynooth station has limited car parking and no access for buses.
One hopes that the LDA does not seriously envisage demolishing the fine Donnybrook garage building, designed along with Busáras by internationally acclaimed Michael Scott. Scott also designed for CIÉ a factory at Inchicore, planned for the production of Leyland buses and trucks; this project was scrapped by the first coalition government (1948-51) and the building became a warehouse for the Office of Public Works. – Is mise,