One of Dublin's most active developers, Joe O'Reilly, has called on planners to acknowledge the "unprecedented adverse economic conditions currently being experienced" and to expand the level of retail development, increase car-parking provision at shopping centres and be more flexible about energy-saving obligations for big firms.
O'Reilly is the founder of Chartered Land, which owns the Dundrum Town Centre, the Ilac Centre and the Pavilions in Swords. In a submission to Fingal County Council, O'Reilly's representatives call on the local authority to permit an "uplift in retail need" in the Fingal area and to allow Swords to experience continued development.
O'Reilly's company is also looking for "a more flexible approach" to the provision of car-parking spaces in the Fingal area.
Chartered Land also points out that Swords is now the third-largest town in Ireland. The company is particularly concerned about the local authority being prescriptive about energy usage by major retailers and other businesses.
The company has concerns about the use of the Building Energy Rating (BER) in the local authority area. "We would encourage the council to adopt a more holistic approach, which recognises the minimum performance requirements for new buildings," states a submission it has made.
The company is also strongly in favour of the Metro North project and acknowledges that it has land near the proposed North Swords stop which "should continue to be identified and promoted for major town-centre development, in all future statutory plans".
The submission says that despite the current downturn, an additional 110,000 sq m of retail space can be accommodated in Swords and at Pavilions.
"The promotion of this retail floor area quantum at Pavilions must be reflected in revisions to the country's retail strategy made as part of the overall development plan review process. We would emphasise that this is of utmost importance in order to secure the long-term strategy of providing a solid retail base," says the company's submission.
The firm acknowledges that public transport must be promoted, but that when it comes to retail the situation is more complicated because of the need to carry large amounts of goods.
"A more flexible approach to the provision of car parking for retail development is however recommended," the submission states.