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Dublin City Council body issues NAMA with ultimatum over shopping centre

Plans for regeneration of Ballymun Shopping Centre were announced in 1997 but the property has now been taken over by NAMA.

(Image: Daft.ie)

BALLYMUN REGENERATION LIMITED (BRL), a Dublin City Council body, has issued NAMA an ultimatum over the regeneration of Ballymun Shopping Centre.

Managing Director of BRL Dick Brady has sent a letter to NAMA giving it 30 days to outline plans for the shopping centre or else the body will make its own plans for retail facilities on the main street of Ballymun. This may involve BRL selling on the site it owns adjacent to the centre – which is supposed to be part of the original plans – to develop a retail space elsewhere.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie today, Fianna Fáil Councillor Paul McAuliffe said this would not only leave businesses currently operating in the outdated shopping centre “abandoned” but it would considerably devalue the property, which is owned by NAMA.

“The shopping centre is the best location for the retail development but if the council developes the adjoining site, the centre would be an eyesore,” he said.

“It makes people angry because NAMA went ahead with a €13 million expansion of an adjacent shopping centre up in Charlestown which is not in Finglas Village and not in Ballymun Village but it’s taking a lot of trade away.”

(Image: Daft.ie)

The plans for regeneration of the centre were included in the 1997 announcement by the government to demolish the Ballymun flat blocks and replace them with new housing units.

The ‘Masterplan for the New Ballymun’, launched the following year covers an area of around 324 hectares and in his letter to NAMA, Brady said that at the time “the creation of a vibrant town centre for Ballymun was identified as a key aim of the regeneration process”.

(Image: Daft.ie)

The letter requests “detailed proposals” and for NAMA to “act as quickly and decisively as possible in developing a clear strategy for the lands”.

“In the absense of a realistic proposal for the town centre provision, BRL will expedite high density, mixed use, town centre options on alternative sites on Main Street.”

McAuliffe said that while he supports the decision to “essentially force NAMA to act”, moving to another site would be “disastrous” for the business owners who are left in the centre, who have been waiting years for the regeneration.

“They’ll be effectively left there in a building that’s going nowhere,” he said. “The retail offering in the centre is not great and at the moment there’s no money to do up small things.”

“The last thing we want to see is the existing site remaining undeveloped while new shops are built next door, but equally the people of Ballymun can’t wait around forever for private owners and their funders to make up their minds,” he added.

(Image: Daft.ie)

Read: Pyrite removals on 122 Ballymun homes ‘nearing completion’>

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