Sunday, 28 March 2010

DDDA plan is not 'fair, equitable and transparent' report

The planning scheme drawn up for the €412m Irish Glass Bottle site and the surrounding area has "not to date been carried out in a fair, equitable and transparent manner", according to a report drawn up for the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA). The planning scheme, which is the responsibility of the DDDA, has "planning problems" but "no illegalities have been found", according to planning consultants Brady Shipman Martin, which was commissioned to write the report into the Poolbeg draft planning scheme.

The DDDA is now considering how the issues raised by Brady Shipman Martin can be resolved.

Meanwhile, documents released last week to Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan show that Dublin Port, which was one of the vendors, believed the site was worth €300m in June 2006, but that the DDDA only believed it was worth about €220m in October of that year. The DDDA ended up being part of a consortium that tendered €412m for the site.

The documents show that former DDDA chief executive Paul Maloney wrote to the Department of the Environment on 2 October, 2006 seeking approval to borrow up to €127m to allow it invest in property.

The letter was sent to Mary Moylan, an assistant secretary at the department who was also a board member of the DDDA at the time. "As discussed with you, the Authority is now seeking approval from the Department… to put a borrowing facility in place with one of the main Irish clearing banks," the letter said, adding that this was to allow it "pursue a number of land acquisitions in the next number of months".

It later states that "acquisitions will be pursued in joint venture with private developers on a commercial basis where the development will seek a return that will equate to those achieved in the open market. Currently this is expected to deliver returns of c 15%".

The following day, at a board meeting of the DDDA, Maloney briefed them on the "confidential negotiations he had undertaken with a developer who had indicated an intention to bid for the site" and would welcome the DDDA becoming involved. "The board agreed that the executive could open negotiations with the potential tender partner with a view to formulating a joint bid," the minutes show.

Sunday Tribune

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