Friday 20 September 2019

Environmental group pours cold water on Crosbie's plan to build homes in bay

Developer: Harry Crosbie would have a 'high hurdle to clear' to develop in the Dublin Bay area as it is part of a Special Area of Conservation. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Developer: Harry Crosbie would have a 'high hurdle to clear' to develop in the Dublin Bay area as it is part of a Special Area of Conservation. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Caroline O'Doherty

Environmentalists have dismissed businessman Harry Crosbie's proposal to reclaim land from the sea for a massive building project as fanciful, because the area he has earmarked is protected by law.

Mr Crosbie has proposed bringing in Dutch experts to create a new 250-acre land bank in Dublin Bay by pumping out the sea from the area to the back of Dublin Port, facing the suburb of Clontarf.

His vision is for a mixed development, 80pc residential and 20pc offices and shops, with 65,000 new homes.

He has also claimed the cost of building the homes would be cheaper than the current norm in the capital.

But environmental group Coastwatch said it was baffled the idea was getting publicity because it would be a non-runner from the start.

"Mr Crosbie is a developer and developers just want to develop so I don't blame him," said co-ordinator Karin Dubsky. "But the area is part of a Special Area of Conservation, protected by EU law, and is also part of a UN biosphere, so I'm surprised he has not been challenged on this."

Ms Dubksy said under EU law, development could take place in a special area of conservation but only in exceptional circumstances where there was an overriding public interest and only if a similar area was designated for preservation in its place.

"It's a very high hurdle to clear and it would mean his argument as regards the cheaper cost of developing there would not hold true."

Ms Dubsky said the area had internationally important and endangered habitats and species and Ireland had already been taken to the European Court over infilling there linked to the Port Tunnel.

Irish Independent

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