Dublin City Development Plan 2011 to 2017.

New City Development Plan adopted

Dublin City Council at their meeting of the 24th November 2010 adopted a new City Development Plan to cover the period 2011-2017. The Plan will be the framework for the sustainable development of the City for the next 6 years. The Plan now has a core strategy that seeks to achieve a compact, quality, green and well-connected city. It provides the foundation for creating real, long-term economic recovery and socially inclusive communities.

The Plan is a culmination of a 2 year consultation process, which involved thousands of submissions being made by the public. The Elected Members debated the various issues raised and resolved many contentious issues. For example, the Plan now contains far greater clarity on the limited situations where taller buildings may be considered. It also provides a more defined framework within which height and density are determined.

There is a major focus on how the Plan can assist in promoting economic development while also focusing on the themes of community, culture, the environment, urban form and movement of people. The objective is to create strong communities connected by a quality public transport, cycling and walking system and recognising the importance of the built heritage and an extensive greenspace network.

The Plan comes into effect on 22nd December 2010

The process

Right across the city, citizens as individuals and in residents and other groups made submissions, lobbied councillors and actively participated in the democratic process of agreeing a Development Plan. Councillors made many submissions and lobbied for their particular interests. Mine was to intensify height and density around public transport hubs and to try to establish Heuston Station, Docks, Georges Quay, Liberty Hall as areas of increased height in a cluster.

I failed in the provision of adequate development heights at Luas lines. The composite motion agreed with many colleagues – 11 in Fine Gael, most of Sinn Fein, plus most of Labour plus Christy Burke, Vincent Jackson, Mannix Flynn and Niall Ring defined the building height maxima as low rise in inner city – up to 6 stories residential and 7 offices – below 19/28 M and at rail hubs up to 6 residential and 6 office below 19/24 M and in puter city up to 4 residential and 4 office below 13/16 M.

A local area plan will be done for Georges Quay and Grangegorman. the Phibsboro area plan stays in operation.

Fine Gael mandated Ruairi McGinley primarily to negotiate with the other parties and independents. Naoise O’Muiri and Mary O’Shea gave active assistance. I tried to keep communications good with the Independents especially. It was difficult to stomach Fianna Fail trying to lower heights continuously. Best comment to me came from an independent former Lord Mayor when I asked him to support the final compromise – he said with regard to then inner city and rail hubs “What a waste of land”. He said that the footprint of Ballyfermot ensured that public transport could not be made efficient and convenient due to sprawl. I wondered whether Mullingar was a suburb of Dublin or whether Fianna Fail had a secret desire to make Dublin a suburb of Mullingar! That accounts for my outburst in July on the question of whether we were devising a Development Plan or a No Development Plan.

The Council will miss the constructive contribution of Kevin Humphries in the likely event of his transfer to Kildare Street.

Finally, the current Lord Mayor gerry Breen did an excellent job in getting through hundreds of motions by linking and combining those where there were clear linkages. His difficulties were compounded by the presence in the chamber of a plethora of former Lord Mayors – Emer Costello, Paddy Bourke, Dermot Lacey, Mary Freehill, Michael Conaghan and Vincent Jackson whose experiences equip them with a special insight into standing orders and general rules. They remind me of my experiences with the late Ollie Byrne of Shelbourne at the FAI Council and the League of Ireland Meetings at Merrion Square. Ollie sat there with a rule book and quoted it whenever it suited Shelbourne and also exposed the contradictory nature of a badly drafted document. With two high profile senior counsels in the Chamber – Oisin Quinn and Jim O’Callaghan – the counsel is often treated to some court room lectures. With Mary O’Shea and Tom Brabazon, practicing solicitors, you can imagine the exactitudes at times.

To all those who e-mailed me during this process, I wish to thank you for your time and interest. It is a privilege for me to be elected to represent some of our citizens.

Finally, the performance of the staff at Dublin City Council in drawing up documents, and providing information at levels that usually gain people Masters Degrees was particularly impressive and I made that observation in my final remarks in the Chamber after the final vote of adoption.

Thank you all.