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'One community' approach for Dublin Docklands future

Dublin City Council has asked the public for its views on plans for Dublin’s Docklands.

Image: PETER MORRISON/AP/Press Association Images

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL hopes the Docklands area of the city will become a “unique urban quarter” that draws on the area’s “powerful maritime character”, while new plans also build on the strong community regeneration seen in recent years.

“The public’s views are important to the success of the scheme,” says city planner Dick Gleeson, who has “strongly encouraged” people to engage with the public consultation on a new Draft Plan for the area over the next six weeks.

The plan includes proposals on urban design, transport, service provision, public amenities and community service.

The North Lotts & Grand Canal Dock Strategic Development Zone Draft (SDZ) Planning Scheme centres on the area between Spencer Dock and Point Village on the north side and the Grand Canal Dock Area on the south side. About 22 hectares of the 60 hectare draft plan are currently undeveloped. Since the property bust and recession, the area has been hit hard economically.

The Docklands has particular problems due to the embedded nature of long-term disadvantage and the level of educational disadvantage, which is more acute as it co-exists with modern knowledge sectors attracting highly-educated people. As part of the “We are one community” aim, the plan proposes a new community building on the site which would “house water facilities while also anchoring social sustainability in a physical building”.

Despite claims about a “one community approach”, there have been complaints about the exclusion of certain areas.

Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said the Minister should correct “a major flaw” and include parts of the North Wall in the new plan.

“Most critically, the draft SDZ excludes one of the most economically deprived parts of the North Wall, an area bordered by Amiens Street and Guild Street,” she said.

It will be a missed opportunity to address past planning mistakes if the final SDZ excludes parts of the North Wall area where there is the greatest need for economic and social regeneration.

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“The part of the North Wall that has been excluded records some of the highest levels of social deprivation in the state. Despite the success of the IFSC there has been very little social housing or investment in social infrastructure on the North side of the docks.  The draft SDZ focuses exclusively on a part of the north docks that records very high socio economic scores and as a consequence will not correct the imbalance in social investment that is needed to develop a successful urban community.”

Dublin City Council will prepare a report based on the submissions which will then be presented to the Elected Members in the early summer. A final plan will come into effect later in 2013. However, the final date will depend on the level of amendments and is subject to the planning appeals process.

The public consultation comes after Minister Phil Hogan’s decision last May to wind up the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) and retain an appropriate fast-track planning framework to complete the project.

The proposals for the 60-hectare area can be viewed and submissions made to the council until 10 May. The documents can be downloaded from the council’s website or hard copies can be obtained from the Civic Offices, Dublin Docklands Development Authority Offices, Central Area HQ, Ringsend & Irishtown Community Centre, Ringsend Library and Pearse Street Library.

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