Monday 3 August 2009

Architects' proposal to remove bridge merely 'tongue in cheek'

A PROPOSAL by Dublin City Council architects to remove the loopline railway bridge in front of the Custom House has been dismissed by Iarnród Éireann and the council’s planners.

The proposal to remove the bridge, long considered one of the city’s biggest eyesores because it blocks views of the Custom House, surfaced yesterday at the An Bord Pleanála hearing into the proposed redevelopment of Tara Street train station.

Iarnród Éireann is proposing a 15-storey office tower as part of a €100 million redevelopment of the station. Its planning application, opposed by the council, is being considered by An Bord Pleanála under the new “fast-track” procedure for strategic infrastructure projects. According to a report from the council’s architecture division, which was discussed at yesterday’s second day of the hearing, the most significant improvement Iarnród Éireann could make in the area would be to remove the loopline bridge.

The report noted that proposals for the removal of the bridge have been made as far back as 1922.

However, Niall McDonnell, senior planner with the council, said it was not the authority’s policy to have the bridge removed.

Conleth Bradley, for Iarnród Éireann, said it appeared the council was disagreeing with itself. Mr McDonnell denied this was the case. He said the call in the report for the bridge’s removal was “tongue in cheek”.

Mr Bradley said it wasn’t good enough for the council to give a tongue in cheek response about an application for a vital piece of public infrastructure. However, he accepted the council was not seeking the bridge’s removal.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign called for more cycle parking facilities at the station. Colm Moore, representing the group, said greater efforts could be made to provide cycle parking either by Iarnród Éireann alone or with the council and other property owners. He criticised Iarnród Éireann’s failure to inform the public of the proposed development. The site notices were “half-hearted” and faded, he claimed, and no one knew about the dedicated website until after the planning deadline had expired. “It was like a lost book in a library, where only the person who knows where it is can locate it.”

Irish Times

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