Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Protection of National Monument Must be Paramount in the Development of the Carlton Site

The City Council agreed tonight to dispose of 24/25 Moore Street subject to a number of conditions. The disposal was agreed almost unanimously.

I had requested that we defer making a decision at the City Council meeting on 3rd November as additional information had been submitted on the planning application. I hadn't time to study that information prior to the Council meeting and I felt that we should have time to consider the impact of the additional information on the National Monument. I proposed that the revised plans be brought back to the Area Committee before a final decision was made on the disposal.
This happened last Tuesday, and I was certainly glad of the opportunity to see the revised proposals. I do believe that the revised proposal is a major improvement on the initial application and the impact of the development on Moore Street has been minimised. (I was the only councillor to make a detailed submission on the initial application).

The protection of the National Monument (14-17 Moore Street) has to be central to any development of the site, and I am reassured by the revised plans. Ultimately the Minister for the Enviroment will have to give his approval to any work that is carried out on the National Monument. The current state of 16 Moore Street is of concern to me and I am conscious that the only way the National Monument can only be properly restored is within the context of the redevelopment of the Carlton site. The development of a museum/interpretative centre at 16 Moore Street is part of the proposed development. I am anxious to see that this is put in place and managed by a State Agency or combination of State Agencies - such as a partnership between DCC and the OPW and/or the National Museum.

I do believe that it is essential for the City that the Carlton Site be developed - it was to be the major site of the O'Connell Street Integrated Area Plan and unfortunately we are now in a position where that Monitoring Committee has concluded its work and no development has commenced on this site. The development of this site will bring about much needed economic regeneration to the North Inner City and will ensure that this area of North Dublin will take its place as the retail core of the City Centre. It is also essential for the regeneration of Moore Street. One of the main concerns Councillors had on the Central Area Committee was that the concerns of the Moore Street Traders were addressed prior to any disposal. The development will bring much needed jobs both in the construction phase and the operational phase and we will be looking for the local community to be employed.

The model of the three Integrated Area Plans (IAP) in the North Inner City - the O'Connell Street IAP, Historic Area Rejuvenation Project (HARP) which takes in the Markets and Smithfield area and the North East Inner City IAP - provided a very beneficial experience to business and residential communites in those areas and the learning from those IAPs should not be lost. The monitoring committees for the IAPs comrprised all the areas' stakeholders including local residents, community organisations, business, trade union and state agencies(e.g. OPW) and provided the basis for an integrated approach to the development of the areas.

I believe that it is a huge pity that the three IAPs have been wound up at a time when three major developments will be taking place in the vicinty of these IAPs - the Carlton Site, the Northern Quarter (Arnotts) and the Markets Framework Plan. I proposed that we should look at setting up some kind of monitoring structure to look at the devleopment of these three sites along the lines of the Monitoring Committees so that we could continue to have an integrated approach to the regeneration of the Inner City and not lose the learning of the last ten years of the IAPs. If we could set up such a structure then we could examine involving the Save 16 Committee as one of the stakeholders in such a committee.

I also believe that it is a pity that the local community will not benefit from the Community Gain Fund as the tax incentives with the IAPs have now ceased so too has the Community Gain Fund. For that reason I proposed this evening that we should ring-fence part of the €12 million from the sale of the land for the local community and that we should look at ring-fencing some of the development levies for the site for the local community.

The manager agreed to refer these issus back to the area committee. I will continue to pursue these proposals.

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