Letter to the editor from the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to the Irish Times following its coverage of the Carlisle Pier issue.
Madam, – The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company wish to respond to the article by Frank McDonald regarding Carlisle Pier, published in The Irish Times on Saturday, September 12th, 2009. We consider the article to be one-sided, and it also contains a number of inaccuracies. We wish to correct these, as the writer made no attempt to make direct contact with the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company prior to publication.
None of the structures on the Carlisle Pier are on the existing or proposed lists for protection. The article referred to the 2007 Inventory of Buildings, Structures and Elements of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, undertaken by renowned conservation architects, Shaffrey Associates Architects. This was part of a three-year process, which involved consultation with conservation bodies, including An Taisce, amongst others. This inventory was primarily a record of all the buildings, structures, elements and uses within the harbour area at that time and is not a statutory document. The inventory has been available on our website and published in a full report, for over two years and at no time since then was its content challenged by any group or individuals.
Based on professional advice, the position of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is that the site clearance works, including specialist removal of the asbestos material, are exempt from requiring planning permission. The statement in the article “but for the few concerned people who noticed it was being knocked down to make way for a car park” is misleading and chooses to ignore the facts. The company went through the due public tendering process and advertised the contract for the removal of the buildings, including specialist asbestos removal, on July 14th. This was reported in the national media, including your own publication, on July 23rd.
A planning application to open up the Carlisle Pier as a public and cultural amenity was submitted to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on September 2nd. The planning application states the Harbour Company’s intent to provide a public promenade and look out point, together with handrails, seating and lighting. It also includes the erection of an open sided pavilion incorporating elements of the former train shed. This notice is in full view at the entrance to the site and the plans have been available on the website of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council since the first week in September.
The application also seeks usage of the Marine Road frontage for events of a cultural, educational, social, recreational or sporting character (including a food and craft market) and the provision of tents, vans or temporary or moveable structures or objects on the lands in connection with storage use. Within this there is provision of 50 bicycle parking spaces, up to 100 car parking spaces and for storage of approximately 50 boats.
This application particularly addresses the very specific objective of the current and Draft Development Plans of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council which requires that “the redevelopment of the pier must incorporate uses that will bring significant cultural, social, recreational and economic benefits to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and must provide for a high degree of public accessibility and permeability, with walkways, viewing areas and public spaces throughout”.
The article of September 12th. made no reference to the amenity and cultural aspects of the application.
The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is committed to providing further access to the harbour area by the public, and to further the marine, leisure and tourism potential for Dun Laoghaire Harbour in a manner which reflects and supports the objectives of all stakeholders. The company also want to do this in a manner which reflects and supports the objectives of the Draft County Development Plan and takes account of the special character of the harbour. In addition the company has recently completed the careful resurfacing of the East Pier which has been warmly welcomed by the thousands of walkers who use it. At the end of August, the company opened the East Pier Battery to the public for the first time and has long-term plans to restore this historic site in a sensitive and appropriate manner. – Yours, etc,
Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.