War of words over complex extension

by Gazette Reporter

LOCAL politicians clashed last week over the refusal by An Bord Pleanala to grant permission for the enlargement of retail at the Carrickmines development by 10,000 sq m, despite a majority vote of 15 to 13 for the extension by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillors in 2010.
The Park Carrickmines was built in 2006 due to a controversial rezoning passed by the council in 1997 that saw the value of the site skyrocket from an estimated €8 million to €61 million.
Carrickmines was thus converted from a semi-rural area into a suburban complex of shops, offices, apartment blocks and housing estates.
Councillors voted for the extension in direct opposition to a directive from the then minister for the environment, John Gormley (GR) not to rezone the Carrickmines land further.
However, last week Tristor Ltd (care of John Spain Associates), the development company seeking the extension of Carrickmines, was refused permission.
An Bord Pleanala stated the reasons for its refusal to enlarge the retail site were that they jarred with planning guidelines for the greater Dublin area transport policy and the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan.
Cllr Richard Humphreys (Lab) said: “On April 12, 2010, all of the Fianna Fail councillors and the vast majority of the Fine Gael group and the Independents voted for this huge and unsustainable increase in retail at Carrickmines.
“The Labour group was the only large group on the council to vote against this and we did so unanimously. I am delighted that our stance has been so comprehensively vindicated by the An Bord Pleanala decision.”
In response, Cllr Gerry Horkan (FF) said: “This is not a Labour issue, it simply demonstrates that Labour votes against everything – they even voted against Dundrum Town Centre.
“Cherrywood [SDZ] is not going to happen any time soon, and here we are with Carrickmines, which the majority of councillors voted for and it is refused.”
Cllr Victor Boyhan (Ind) said: “Councillors clearly defined Dun Laoghaire and Dundrum as the two major retail centres for the county.
“If massive expansion at Carrickmines were to have been permitted, it would have undermined that policy and negatively impacted on the objective of our County Development Plan.”
Cllr Lettie McCarthy (Lab) said: “Had this planning application gone ahead, it would have put undue pressure on already struggling retail outlets, probably causing many of them to close.”
A spokesperson for John Spain Associates, for Tristor Ltd, said: “We are clearly disappointed at the decision of An Bord Pleanala.
“The scheme would have created some 800 new jobs for the area and would have provided a range of high-quality retail, leisure, entertainment and community facilities for the substantial existing and planned population of this fast-growing area of the county, in accordance with the site’s District Centre designation.
“In light of the Bord’s decision, and the inspector’s assessment that a reduced scale of retail and leisure development would be more appropriate in the short-term, we now intend to engage and work with the council in relation to a revised proposal for the site.
“Any revised proposal will incorporate a new access directly out of The Park, to the Ballyogan Wood Luas stop, and will also incorporate a linear parkland area that will join up with the council’s new Jamestown Park proposal, and create a large, attractive green route for the wider community.”

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