Yesterday, during a Topical Issues Debate with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, Deputy Broughan highlighted the urgent need for the Office of the Planning Regulator to review the planning of the North/South Fringes of Dublin City and Fingal County over the past two decades. Deputy Broughan also wrote directly to the Planning Regulator following the submission a few weeks ago by Gerard Gannon Properties of proposals for a huge development of 1,950 residential units and 22,728m2 of commercial development across 15 blocks (up to 15 and 17 storeys high) in Clongriffin which is part of the North/South Fringe of Dublin City and Fingal County. Astonishingly 1,130 of the proposed apartments are intended to be ‘Build to Rent’ in a housing area where up to 9,000 individuals and families are waiting for accommodation on Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council housing lists.
Deputy Broughan told the Dáil that these applications are the latest of a long litany of such applications for the North/South Fringe over the past 20 years. He said that development of the region has been stop start and highly erratic with the failure of the two planning authorities, Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council and developers like Gannon Homes, Stanley Holdings and Helsingor to deliver much heralded infrastructure on time, including public transport, schools, health centres, childcare facilities, community and amenity spaces, shops and a Garda station. It took nearly 10 years to build and open Clongriffin DART Station and even longer for the first two primary schools to arrive. Clongriffin Town Centre is still waiting for a supermarket and other much needed commercial and professional services. He noted that the North/South Fringe was also bedevilled with problems of Pyrite contamination and insulation difficulties and it also took years for the successful remediation of affected structures down to 2015. The taxpayer and Dublin City Council ended up bearing the €40 million net cost of totally rebuilding Priory Hall which straddles the central section of the Main Street Boulevard of the North Fringe.
Deputy Broughan concludes “Given the planning history of the area, I would like the support of the Minister to call on the Planning Regulator to carry out a review of all aspects of the planning of the North/South Fringe and indeed to look at the history of this development and other urban regions in Ireland and exemplars abroad. Under the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2018, Section 3P, the new office of the Planning Regulator can review the performance of the functions of An Bord Pleanála and planning authorities such as Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council. The Planning Regulator is also tasked by the same section to oversee the delivery of effective planning services to the public by planning authorities and to conduct research for the Minister. I believe the North/South Fringe is a wonderful area with great potential to be a great and fully serviced community in Dublin but we need a new model of sustainable planning into the future.”