Wednesday 20 May 2009

Controversial €1.2bn development gets go-ahead

A MASSIVE €1.2bn development opposed by a Labour Party TD was given the go-ahead last night -- and the developer behind the plan is confident it will be built, despite the collapse in the property market, writes Fiach Kelly.

The redevelopment of the Northside Shopping Centre in Coolock in Dublin was thrown into doubt after two objections were lodged to An Bord Pleanala, one of which came from Tommy Broughan, Labour's transport spokesperson.

However, a 16-storey tower at the centre of the 30-hectare scheme has been omitted from the permitted plan, with a stipulation that permission for a revised "landmark" be lodged within two years.

Brian O'Farrell, who bought the site from a Treasury Holdings subsidiary, says that an eight-storey tower will be included.

The scheme, one of the biggest to come before planning authorities for years, had been the subject of an oral hearing, but Mr O'Farrell, of N1 Property Developments, is hopeful that work will begin within 12 months.

The plan includes 1,340 apartments, libraries, medical centres and huge retail outlets, and Mr O'Farrell is confident it can still be a success despite the severe economic slowdown.

He says that the development will be built in phases over a five-year period.

Mr Broughan said last night that "it was very important to have an independent planning report" on the development.

"Dublin City Council is involved with the housing through a public private partnership so the council was basically a partner in the development, and residents wanted an independent planning process," he said.

Irish Independent

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