Monday 21 August 2017

Fears area will be overrun by more traffic if hospital gets the go-ahead

National Maternity Hospital Master Dr Rhona Mahony Picture: Arthur Carron
National Maternity Hospital Master Dr Rhona Mahony Picture: Arthur Carron
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Residents fear that expensive parking at the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) will drive staff and visitors into nearby streets.

Locals have expressed major concerns about traffic arising from the development of the €300m facility, telling An Bord Pleanála that the local road network is ill-equipped to handle more traffic when the hospital opens, catering for 10,000 births and 100,000 out-patient visits a year.

Submissions state that the addition of 277 extra car spaces on the St Vincent's campus in Dublin 4 is "wholly inadequate", and that there is an over-reliance on the State providing extra public transport facilities at a future date.

One notes that it is "difficult for visitors to our home" to secure a parking space on Elm Park, "particularly during visiting hours on a Sunday", adding that parking charges in the hospital should be less than those in place on surrounding roads. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council also said it was concerned about "overspill car parking".

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A submission by a resident on Herbert Avenue added: "The development of the maternity hospital should be contingent on Dublin City Council designating as residents-only parking on Herbert Avenue to avoid further parking pressure from the new hospital.

"The planning conditions should stipulate that parking should be provided at lower cost than that on surrounding roads so as to make the provision of parking within the site attractive."

An Bord Pleanála, which is due to decide the application by next September, received a total of 18 submissions.

Irish Water said it had no issues, while the National Transport Authority said the site was well served by public transport.

However, the Nutley Residents Association said there were "serious shortcomings" in relation to modelling the impact traffic and parking would have on the area, with the likely effects "very substantially under-estimated".

While residents supported the development, existing roads were at over-capacity during peak times and the hospital was contrary to good planning practice.

Others suggest that the hospital be built on RTÉ lands, and patients transferred by ambulance, while another states that satellite clinics be established in "core catchment areas" and "routine" procedures be conducted off-site. However, 17 medical experts at the NMH Holles Street, including master Rhona Mahony, have urged the board to grant permission.

The Department of Anaesthesia said the new facility would "revolutionise" maternity and gynaecological care nationally, and was a project of "vital" importance. Ms Mahony and eight colleagues said the hospital would ensure a "safe" service, and was the "optimal model of care", while the Department of Neonatology said the "women and infants of Ireland" deserved "the best possible care".

Irish Independent

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