PLANS by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to use a depot site for Traveller accommodation in Mount Merrion contradict the council’s former commitment to sell the depot and use the monies for capital funding, according to a local politician.
However, a spokesperson for the council has denied that a commitment to sell the site was ever made.
According to Cllr Barry Saul (FG), Mount Anville Road depot, used as a base for council staff and trucks, was due to be sold when the new Ballyogan depot was built and funds from that sale were to go back into community facilities.
Cllr Saul said that during a capital budget programme meeting which came before the council this May, a report on recommendations made in 2006 on the proposed reorganisation or disposal of council depots stated that the Mount Anville site, and others, would be sold when the property market recovered. in order to generate capital funding for the council.
However, the Mount Anville Road depot site has been on Traveller accommodation schemes since 1986, and is again listed in the new 2014-18 Traveller accommodation scheme.
This, according to Cllr Saul, is despite commitments made by the former county manager (Owen Keegan) to dispose of the valuable site and reinvest monies into community facilities.
The recently published Draft Traveller Accommodation plan (2014-18) states, in reference to the Mount Anville depot: “This site is in council ownership and is currently at the pre-design stage”.
Cllr Saul said: “The council need to clarify their plans for this valuable site in Mount Anville. We were given commitments that this site would be sold and the proceeds would be re invested back into community facilities.
“The council’s policy to sell this site … needs to be re-affirmed. This site overlooking Dublin Bay would be a premium site for development.”
However, a spokesperson for the council said: “The council recently published a new draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2014-18, which also includes the Mount Anville site as a proposed group housing scheme.
“The council is not aware of any commitment made to sell the site. The land is currently still in use as a depot; when this use is discontinued, the council will decide on the development or disposal of the lands.
“If the council decides to dispose of the lands, the objective to provide Traveller accommodation remains, and the council will endeavour to provide the accommodation directly or in conjunction with the new owners.”
However, Cllr Gerry Horkan (FF) said: “This particular site was never well thought out and is not suitable as a housing site for the Travelling or the settled community. positioned as it is on a hill on a bend.”