Sunday 25 February 2018

Developer Johnny Ronan and PwC fail to block docklands bus depot plan

PwC’s Spencer Dock headquarters in Dublin
PwC’s Spencer Dock headquarters in Dublin

Gordon Deegan

An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for a bus depot in Dublin's docklands in spite of opposition from PwC and developer Johnny Ronan.

The appeals board has given the National Transport Authority (NTA) planning permission for five years for a coach car-park at the former North Wall freight depot that will have the capacity for 50 buses.

The City Council gave the go-ahead for the depot last November on CIE lands but the plan was put on hold following appeals by Mr Ronan's RGRE Grafton Ltd and the Spencer Dock Management Ltd (SDML).

The facility is to only permit private empty coaches as an alternative to the existing kerbside on-street city parking.

There is no dedicated facility to accommodate private coaches accessing Dublin city centre for commuter and tourism-related trips and the depot will accommodate up to 100 coaches per day, generating 200 coach trips.

PwC employs 2,000 people at its Spencer Dock HQ that faces onto the bus depot area which will be served by a temporary access road at Park Lane.

An observation lodged with An Bord Pleanála by PwC's director of infrastructure, Tom Neary, stated that "such a volume of heavy traffic as is proposed by the NTA would greatly impact PwC as a principal occupier and employer".

He added: "The disruption to our employees, clients and service providers will significantly negatively impact our ability to carry out our business in this area in an effective and safe manner and greatly diminish the general amenity of the surrounding area which our people currently enjoy."

In the submission, Mr Neary also said the grounds of the observation are "based primarily on the unsuitability of Park Lane and surrounding area to environmentally and sustainably support heavy volumes of coach traffic travelling to and from the proposed coach parking area."

"The use of Park Lane as an access for large numbers of coaches to a parking area on the railway lands north of Sheriff Street is neither technically or environmentally appropriate."

Mr Neary said PwC fully supported the appeal by SDML against the council decision and requested the appeals board to refuse permission "for this inappropriate use of Park Lane".

Mr Ronan's RGRE Grafton Ltd argued that planning permission should be refused having regard to the additional heavy vehicle traffic in an area designated for urban regeneration. RGRE Grafton, which owns nearby office development Kilmore House, argued that the council decision to grant permission was contrary to a zoning objective of the Dublin City Development Plan.

But the planner in the case recommended that planning permission be granted as the proposed development would not adversely affect the residential or visual amenities of the area and would not lead to the depreciation of property values.

Irish Independent

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