Monday 12 January 2009

Title problems may stop Dún Laoghaire baths project

LEGAL IMPEDIMENTS contained in the leases and titles on land in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, could make the planned redevelopment of the public baths there impossible, according to a local councillor.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has already spent €270,000 on consultancy fees to develop plans for the baths, but leases and titles dating back to the early 1900s may prevent some developments on the site. Dún Laoghaire public baths had been the subject of controversial development proposals, which were rejected by councillors in 2006 because of strong local opposition.

Two outline plans covering the area from the East Pier to Sandycove including the site of the baths, were developed for the council by consultants Royal Haskoning. The plans were put out to public consultation in the autumn. “Concept A” costing up to €129 million to develop, involves a lagoon beach, a pedestrian bridge, an aquatic play area on the old public baths site and a civic space with underground car park of up to 500 spaces.

“Concept B” would cost €92 million and involves a new promenade and sandy beach from the East Pier to the Newtownsmith section, as well as a water sports centre in Sandycove Park.

The results of the public consultation process will be presented at a council meeting this evening.

Documents already circulated to councillors showed land included in the plans is subdivided into five plots, with five separate and differing titles. There are also differing and various rights following the five titles. And not all of the titles are owned by the council.

The land on which the baths itself is built is held in grant since 1909, originally from the British crown and includes a condition requiring the permission of the owner before any development is carried out. Legal impediments and restrictions included in the titles were numerous and significant and could make some development impossible, according to Green Party councillor Gene Feighery. “Until the freehold and leasehold title is sorted out, there can be no reality to these proposals,” she said.

Local councillors are today also to consider a report showing 4,620 people are on a waiting list for affordable homes in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. The council expects to provide 571 affordable homes between now and 2010.

Irish Times

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