€25k for a square metre of garden: Homeowners to receive compensation in new bus network plan
- Homeowners could receive €25k for a square metre of garden
- Homeowners may be forced to sacrifice part of their gardens for Dublin’s new rapid bus network
- However, they are in line for generous compensation payments running into tens of thousands of euro
- Landscapers will also be hired to develop the gardens left behind
- State footing the bill for new driveways, paving, trees and shrubbery
HOMEOWNERS forced to sacrifice part of their gardens for Dublin’s new rapid bus network are in line for generous compensation payments running into tens of thousands of euro.
Government sources suggest that compensation of up to €25,000 per square metre will be paid for land taken from as many as 1,300 property owners.
While the aim is to keep the impact on individual dwellings to a minimum, some owners could be in line for payouts well in excess of €100,000 if large parts of their property are taken for the €1.5bn Bus Connects project.
Sources said it was hoped the substantial compensation package for lands acquired under compulsory purchase orders would help prevent any lengthy legal battles which could delay the project.
Landscapers will also be hired to develop the gardens left behind, with the State also footing the bill for new driveways, paving, trees and shrubbery.
But homeowners will not learn if their home is in the firing line until the late summer or early September.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) said individual properties would not be identified until detailed designs were completed.
It said compensation would be “generous” but decided at a later date.
Bus Connects involves developing 16 high-capacity corridors to cater for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and private cars.
Because many city streets are narrow, transport planners intend to take “slices” of gardens to allow roads to be widened.
Sources suggest average payouts could be €20,000.
On some routes, up to 200 homes’ gardens could be affected, but no complete houses or buildings will be required.
NTA chief executive Anne Graham said the plan was needed to improve journey times in the city, adding that private car traffic would be affected.
“It will impact when you take away road space from cars. We believe the best use [of roads] is public transport and sustainable transport,” she said.
“We’re about making it easier for people to use public transport. We’re willing to put forward a budget to mitigate [for loss of property]. We have to be generous in terms of mitigating measures. I would consider we will be making generous offers.”
Car parking spaces will also be reduced, both public and private.
In some cases, alternative car parking will be identified for affected property owners, and compensation could also be paid.
It is not clear whether compensation will be paid to Dublin City Council and other affected local authorities for the loss of revenue which would ensue if off-street car parking was removed.
The plan involves developing 230km of dedicated bus corridors and more than 200km of cycle paths across 16 bus corridors.
Public transport will have continuous priority, improving journey times by between 40pc and 60pc.
Further details of the Bus Connects project also reveal that some roads may become one-way only, including Rathmines Road in the direction of the city.
Cars travelling outbound will be routed through Ranelagh.
Other roads likely to become one-way include Swords Road in Santry, St Mobhi Road southbound and Templeogue Road outbound.
In other cases, roads may become public transport/taxi/ cycling only, or new ones built, with only local access allowed.
This includes a new link between Clarehall and Belmayne Avenue; Prussia Street/Old Cabra Road, Mount Brown, and a section of Kimmage Road Lower.
A new bridge is also required over the River Dodder at the east end of Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.
Political reaction was broadly positive, with Dublin Bus saying the plan was “positive news” for its customers as it would help tackle congestion and make public transport a “better option” than the private car.