Saturday 24 February 2018

Public hearing for new maternity hospital as An Bord Pleanála bids to fill board vacancies

St Vincent’s Hospital grounds. Photo: PA
St Vincent’s Hospital grounds. Photo: PA
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

A public hearing will be held in relation to plans to develop a €300m National Maternity Hospital in Dublin 4.

An Bord Pleanála has written to 18 parties who made submissions to advise that an oral hearing will be held on May 31 next, where applicants and other parties will be asked to set out the period of time they will need to outline plans for the hospital, and highlight any issues of concern.

Among those who made submissions were local residents, most of whom have raised serious concerns about the traffic impacts which will arise if the hospital opens as planned on the St Vincent's Campus at Elm Park.

The project is subject to a review by Health Minister Simon Harris amid a row over ownership, however, the planning process will continue.

Separately, the Department of Housing has said that vacancies in An Bord Pleanála will be filled to avoid any delays in processing applications.

A nine-strong board ultimately decides if projects should be approved, but one member has left in recent months and the terms of office of another four are due to expire before the end of the month. This would leave just four in place.

While just three members are needed to decide an application, fewer numbers will impact on the ability of the board to resolve issues in a timely manner. This is important as the board will handle applications to build housing estates of 100 units or more under a fast-track process designed to speed up delivery.

The department said a nomination process for new members started earlier this year, and the process was now complete.

"The (housing) minister has identified individuals to fill the positions arising in the board," it said.

"The department is presently engaged in making the necessary practical arrangements in relation to the formal appointment of the new board members so that they can take up duty."

Irish Independent

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