Thursday 19 July 2018

Councils face €19m bill for levy if Metro North is shelved

An artist’s impression of a Metro North station
An artist’s impression of a Metro North station
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

More than €19m in development levies stumped up by builders and property owners along the route of the proposed Metro North project will have to be returned if the project is axed.

Two Dublin councils have been collecting the money on behalf of the Rail Procurement Agency since 2007 in the form of an increased development levy.

The levy has made the costs of construction along the route from St Stephen’s Green to Swords more expensive over the last eight years.

Fingal County Council has collected €14m in that time, while Dublin City Council has collected €5.4m, with the cash ring-fenced pending the approval of the long-planned transport project.

However, the Irish Independent has learned that will all have to be paid back if Metro North is not selected by the Government from the six northside public transport schemes currently being considered.

Other options include heavy rail and a rapid bus corridor.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is to announce a decision within weeks when he reveals his capital budget.

Metro North was first proposed in 2005, with a competition date of 2012 promised by the Government of the day.

An increased development levy along the route was introduced to contribute to the projected costs of more than €2.55bn as a condition of planning permission that was granted.

The levy applies to buildings and properties in a 1km radius of the route as that area is deemed within walking distance of the metro stations.

The plan was stalled in 2012 due to the recession but the councils continued to collect the money amid an expectation that the Metro North plan would be back on the table when the economy improved.

The additional charge varies between council areas.

DCC charges €322,000 per hectare for retail space while Fingal charges €945,000.

For commercial space, DCC charges €223,500 per hectare compared to Fingal’s €693,000.

A revised Metro North plan costing €21bn is being considered but if it is scrapped the levies will have to be returned.

Irish Independent

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