Tuesday 4 March 2008

Cost of Ballymun project overruns by €500m

AT NEARLY €1 billion the regeneration of Ballymun is now set to cost taxpayers double the amount originally planned.

A report by the State’s financial watchdog yesterday blamed building delays and inflation for the overspend.

But the Comptroller and Auditor General said better planning could have lessened delays.

John Purcell revealed the overhaul of the north Dublin area is set to cost about €942 million, a substantial jump from the €442m originally set aside.

Moreover, the redevelopment will not be finished until 2012 — six years beyond the original deadline.

A “major setback”, according to Mr Purcell, is the delay in providing a promised shopping centre for Ballymun locals. Plans for a business and technology park are also delayed.

The report said 24 blocks of flats still remain to be demolished. The public housing plan was also only half complete by mid-2007.

Additional costs and delays were blamed on a number of factors including:

* Extended planning.

* Changes in demolition due to asbestos.

* Consultation with tenants and the community.

* Problems in the construction market.

* Health and safety issues.

* Delays moving tenants.

Mr Purcell added: “Better planning and risk management could have mitigated some of the causes of the delays.”

The Government approved Ballymun’s regeneration in 1997 because of high levels of economic and social deprivation in the area.

A review of the project is needed to ensure future regeneration projects do not run over estimated budgets, warned Mr Purcell.

Irish Examiner


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