Monday 9 February 2009

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown councillors consider erection of 60 advert signs

COUNCILLORS IN Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council are to consider tonight plans to erect 60 outdoor advertising signs in various locations throughout the local authority area.

The signs, originally planned for locations including the heritage village of Dalkey, will be erected by outdoor advertising company Clear Channel Ireland.

They will measure 2sq m (21½sq ft) and the elevation will extend to bus shelter height, the council has said.

Moreover the intention is that the signage will be scrolling and double sided.

Revenue from the project will generate €10 million for the council over 10 years. Contracts are expected to be signed with Clear Channel in the next two weeks.

The money is to be ring-fenced for the council’s recreation and amenity budget.

The council has also entered into discussions with another outdoor signage provider in relation to the provision of larger “metropole” structures. It is understood this signage will come before councillors for discussion in April.

Planning permission or public consultation will not be required for the signs, the council has said, because they will be developed separately and will come under the €126,000 threshold, which would require the council to initiate a part VIII public consultation process under planning legislation.

Technically, councillors do not have the final say on the signs. However, county manager Owen Keegan is required to inform them of the development and they could block it using a section 140 motion if they felt strongly enough.

The director of environment and culture at the council, Richard Shakespeare, said that when the sites for the 60 signs were originally mooted, councillors had raised concerns about some of them.

The council’s heritage officer then assessed the sites and identified 10 as being in sensitive areas.

Mr Shakespeare said that he would try to find alternatives to the 10 sites, although he thought the signs could be fine if they were “tastefully done”.

“We are cognisant of concerns around having these signs in architectural conservation areas, in designated heritage areas or too close to listed structures,” he said.

He said the funding from the signs would provide much needed resources to the area of recreation and amenity, which would be difficult to finance in the current economic climate.

“In effect, we can bullet-proof those budgets,” he said.

Councillors have also been informed that €700,000 of the monies due for 2009 from the signage has already been included by the council as part of its 2009 budget.

Irish Times

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