Dublin City Council says car park cannot be used for housing as it’s too close to train line

— Car park ~30 metres from Northern Line, nearby modern housing developments much closer.
— Transport-orientated development is “embedded” in Climate Action Plan and “a key policy objective” of the Government’s Housing for All.

CIE, Irish Rail’s parent company, is progressing with plans to build housing at both Connolly and Heuston stations, but Dublin City Council officials have told councillors that a car park it owns is too close to a railway line to build housing on the site.

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It also said that the car park beside Clontarf Road train station could not be built on because access to the car park is via CIE land and that the car park is “landlocked” between the Irish Rail car park and the council’s other car park at the All Weather Pitches.

The car park caught in the middle is the overflow car park for the Westwood Fitness Club on the Clontarf Road. The council leases the car park to the owners of the facility and some councillors questioned the renewal of the lease.

Transit-oriented development — or, in plain English, planning for housing built around public transport stations — is a cornerstone of sustainable development policy.

In a parliamentary reply earlier this year, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said: “The Climate Action Plan 2023 highlights the importance of embedding transport-orientated development (TOD) at all stages of planning and development, particularly the siting of services and multi-use development at transport nodes.”

He added: Transport-orientated development is a key policy objective of the Government’s Housing for All plan and a working group was established in December 2021 under Action 26.1 of Housing for All to consider opportunities for TOD in major urban centres.”

But it seems somebody forgot to give Dublin City Council’s Housing Development Section the memo on transport-orientated development.

In a report to councillors, Máire Igoe, an acting executive manager in the Planning and Property Development section of the council, said: “The original lease formed part of an agreement by DCC to Templeville Developments Ltd for the provision of a 50m swimming pool facility, the first in Ireland. The construction of the larger pool impacted on the footprint of the building and subsequently on parking. In order for the facility to provide adequate parking Dublin City Council proposed to lease the lands the subject of this agreement.”

“The proposed grant of a further lease was previously brought before the Elected Members. A number of questions were raised by the Councillors regarding the potential use of the Clontarf Road Car Park site as a future site for housing. The matter was referred to the Housing Development Section of Dublin City Council for review who reported that the site does not have development potential for the following reasons,” Igoe said in the report.

The reasons were listed as “the site is zoned Z9 which does not allow for residential use, the site is land locked between two surface car parks and is in close proximity to a busy rail line, and access to the car park is by wayleave across lands owned by CIE.”

The car park is around 30 metres from the Northern Line, while modern housing developments north and south of Clontarf Station are 10 metres or less from the tracks. There are also housing built right up to tracks in different parts of the city.

The Z9 is to “preserve, provide and improve recreational amenity and open space and green networks” and the zoning is for public open space, private open space, and sports facilities in private ownership.

The report to councillors added that: “The Environment and Transportation, Drainage Section has reported the existence of a large main sewer pipe on the site which would further prohibit construction at this location.”

The report said that it is now proposed to grant a new Lease to Templeville Developments Limited T/A
Westwood Club of the Clontarf Road Car Park, Dublin 3, subject to terms outlined in full in the report.

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