Dublin's first dedicated park-and-ride facility for buses, which would have taken commuters from Leixlip to the city centre in less than half the time of a car, has been denied planning permission by An Board Pleanála.
South Dublin County Council intended to run express bus services every 10 minutes, at peak time, from a park-and-ride facility at Lucan Demesne, just off the N4 between the Leixlip and Lucan bypass roads.
The 15km journey along the N4 to O'Connell Street could have taken less than 30 minutes using dedicated bus lanes and taken up to 1,500 commuters off the road each day, the council said.
The council applied to the planning board in December 2006 to build the facility on a 4.49 hectare (11 acre) site adjacent to the Liffey Valley. It was to be built in two phases, the first with 525 standard parking spaces and 10 disabled parking space and the second with 501 standard spaces and 10 disabled spaces. Bicycle parking would also be provided.
An oral hearing on the application was held last July and the inspector who conducted the hearing, Padraig Ó Gliasain, recommended that the project receive permission. However, the board rejected this recommendation and refused the project.
In its report the board said the council had zoned the land as a high amenity area in its own development plan. The plan also contained a policy to develop the lands as part of a Liffey Valley National Park.
"It is considered that the proposed use of these lands as a park-and-ride facility would materially contravene the zoning objective for these lands and would conflict with the aforesaid policies in relation to the preservation of the Liffey Valley and the achievement of a National Park," the board said.
County manager Joe Horan said he was disappointed by the board's decision.
"I fully accept the board's right to make that decision, but we felt we had chosen a discreet location, and the best possible location in terms of motorists exiting from the road."
The council was still studying the board's decision, but would shortly consider whether to look for a new site or seek an alteration to the development plan, Mr Horan said. It is understood that the other Dublin local authorities intended to monitor its progress with a view to setting up their own services.
The Irish Times