Thursday 22 March 2007

Roche moves to facilitate new planning regime for the regeneration of the Poolbeg Peninsula

Dick Roche, T.D., today laid a draft order before both Houses of the Oireachtas seeking resolutions approving the order. The intention of the proposed order is to allow the Dublin Docklands Development Authority to prepare a draft "section 25" planning scheme for an area of the Poolbeg Peninsula, which in due course would facilitate more effective development and regeneration of this potentially very important area of the city.

The Minister said "The availability of development lands at Poolbeg represents an important opportunity for the creation of a new and sustainable urban quarter in Dublin, based on public transport and strategically located close to the city centre. The implementation of a planning scheme of the type already being implemented in other areas of the docklands is expected to lead to a more rapid and integrated development of this area. The advantages of a "Section 25" planning scheme include increased certainty for developers, more rapid decision-making on development proposals, integration of development and infrastructure provision and, most importantly, the opportunity to involve the local community in the preparation of the scheme. I am therefore requesting the Houses of the Oireachtas to approve this draft order so it can be subsequently signed into law. Thereafter, I look forward to the preparation by the Authority of an ambitious planning scheme for the area concerned."

Note for those interested:

Section 25(1)(a) of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Act, 1997 provides that a planning scheme may be prepared for any part of the Dublin Docklands Area specified for that purpose by order of the Minister. Where it is proposed to make such an order, it must be laid in draft before each House of the Oireachtas and cannot be made without a resolution of approval from each House.

In broad terms, a planning scheme indicates the manner in which the Authority considers the relevant area should be redeveloped, and sets out policies in relation to land use, distribution and location of development, overall design, transportation, the development of amenities, and conservation.

Section 25 provides that the carrying out of development that is certified by the Authority to be consistent with a planning scheme shall be exempted development for the purposes of the Planning and Development Acts. The effect of this provision is to minimise uncertainty and delay in respect of developments requiring major public and/or private investment, compared to the normal planning process.

In preparing a planning scheme, the Authority is obliged to have regard to its 2003 Master Plan, consult with Dublin City Council and other relevant statutory bodies, have regard to the Dublin City Development Plan, and arrange for submissions by interested parties. The draft plan is then submitted to the Minister who, following consultation with the Minister for Finance and consideration of any objections from Dublin City Council, may approve it with or without modification.

The proposed planning scheme for the Poolbeg Peninsula excludes the power generation stations, the wastewater treatment plant, the site for the proposed waste to energy plant, and a container storage area used by Dublin Port.

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