CIE is offered huge site near airport to free up city bus depots for housing development

Developers say CIÉ's city centre bus depots are 'an obsolete and wasteful use of scarce residential development land'

Fearghal O'Connor

CIÉ has been offered a huge site near Dublin Airport for a minimum of €10.5m to house future new electric bus fleets and allow it build apartments at its current city bus depots.

The detailed proposal from developer Melvin Properties Ltd (MPL) is aimed at allowing the state transport company free up space for 6,000 apartments and avail of a large greenfield site with direct access to renewable energy.

Niall Melvin of MPL outlined the plan in a detailed submission to Fingal County Council, which also included a copy of a letter of offer sent to CIÉ Group CEO Lorcan O’Connor earlier this month.

MPL owns a 27-hectare site at Stockhole Lane, east of the M1 motorway near Dublin Airport, which currently has a green belt zoning. But MPL claims the land is ideal for a massive new bus depot and charging station that could house the entire Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann fleets.

The site is close to Eirgrid’s new 220kV substation at the IDA campus lands at Belcamp, which is the "landing station for at least one and possibly two of the Irish Sea wind farms that will be delivered over the next few years,” it said.

MPL has offered the green belt lands to CIÉ for a minimum €160,000 per acre – a 40pc reduction on the typical value of land zoned for general employment, it said.

MPL would allow eight months for CIÉ to run a public procurement process after the rezoning, to give it time to assess alternative options.

The company said that a series of bus depots across Dublin city was “widely judged to be an obsolete and wasteful use of scarce sustainable residential development land.”

It said it had conducted “a high-level audit” of some Dublin Bus depots to arrive at the overall 6,000 residential units figure and that it was inevitable “at some stage” the two bus companies would move to a site near Dublin Airport.

“The future site search would likely deliver a Thornton Hall-style overpayment for a poor quality site. This proposal is the inverse of the Thornton Hall deal,” they said.