Dublin logistics park plan hangs in balance
The chief executive of a UK-based firm planning a €30m logistics park in Dublin said the company will be left with a "very bad experience" of Ireland if An Bord Pleanála rejects the proposal.
Philip O'Callaghan, who heads Mountpark Logistics, told the Irish Independent that he remains hopeful permission will be granted for the logistics park despite the council rejecting it because of flooding concerns.
The local council is also due to rezone the land on which the 350,000 sq ft logistics park is to be built beside the Baldonnel aerodrome in south Dublin as agricultural in coming weeks, a move that will slash its value and ensure it cannot be built on with future planning applications.
Mountpark Logistics, which has developed similar projects across Europe, is planning to build the large Dublin logistics park speculatively, as it believes there is significant pent-up demand for such a development.
It believes the park will support 120 jobs during construction, and up to 820 jobs if it's completed.
It has completed other parks in the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic.
But its planning application here has been rejected by South Dublin County Council, which insists that development of the site would "contravene the requirements of the flood risk management guidelines… and would not be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".
Those flood risks have prompted the council to decide to rezone the land as agricultural, which could stymie Mountpark's plans.
Mr O'Callaghan says that the company has already put forward a planned solution to deal with flooding risk and that he was "shocked" when the application was refused.
"Our planning application had a technical solution, and that was agreed in negotiations with the local authority," claimed Mr O'Callaghan.
"We are asking for the land to remain zoned industrial subject to technical solutions being found. If we didn't think there were technical solutions we wouldn't have bought the site in the first place."
He said that despite just part of the site falling with a particular type of flood zone, all of the land is to be rezoned agricultural by the council.
The council declined to comment directly on Mountpark's application, but confirmed it intends to rezone the land from enterprise and employment to rural use "on the basis that the lands were subject to the risk of flooding".
That change will probably happen next month, ahead of an August deadline when An Bord Pleanála expects to rule on Mountpark's application.
It's not clear how the rezoning will impact An Bord Pleanála's decision.