Sunday 14 December 2008

Lack of agreement over parking may put a halt to Foxrock's gallop

PLANS for a multi-million euro facelift of Foxrock village in south Dublin could be set to fall at the final fence over difficulties in securing the use of a crucial piece of land owned by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

The land has been included in draft plans for the area as car parking but HRI have not committed to its use, potentially derailing the development.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council say they are confident the ongoing negotiations will reach a successful conclusion but sources have indicated that the parties involved are no closer to reaching one.

The Sunday Tribune has learned that the key difficulty regards access to the land which would not be sufficient to accommodate both parking and equestrian traffic during busy race meets.

Unless the question of access can be addressed to satisfy both sides, plans for the Foxrock redevelopment, as they currently stand, could not proceed.

"Nothing can be done until the allocated (parking) spaces have been acquired; it's the pivotal point of the scheme," said local Cllr Gearoid O'Keefe.

"The evidence of that is that the County Manager himself (Owen Keegan) has gone to meet Horse Racing Ireland and will have further meetings."

A spokesperson for HRI would not be drawn on details of the discussions but said only that they had been requested by the council to facilitate car parking. Whether that would mean the sale or simple use of the land is not clear.

Sources close to the negotiations have indicated that HRI was first approached by the council a year to 18 months ago requesting use of the land. However, despite not securing any guarantee detailed plans for the redevelopment was unveiled last June.

Sunday Tribune

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