Monday 19 September 2011

Nama offers lands used as helipad by developer for sale

LANDS OVERLOOKING Dublin Bay, which were used by developer Bernard McNamara as a helicopter landing pad, are being offered for sale by receivers acting on behalf of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

The four-acre site, adjacent to Booterstown marsh, a nature reserve which has EU Special Protection Area conservation status, is being sold through Farrell, Grant and Sparks. It was formerly owned by the McNamara group.

However, national heritage organisation An Taisce and local politicians are appealing to Nama to stop the sale and keep the land in public ownership.

In a letter to Nama chairman Frank Daly, An Taisce said the marsh land was of little commercial value, but was an important public and environmental asset.

If retained as an open space and absorbed within the zone of the Special Protection Area, it would have “considerable benefits to the local community, to views and vistas along Dublin Bay, as a wildlife haven and become an important study/observation area”.

It could also act as a “buffer zone” to the Special Protection Area, which would help protect vulnerable and sensitive species, particularly over-wintering birds such as the light-bellied Brent geese, the scarce Spotted Redshank and Little Stint, “which find a haven in the nature reserve”.

The buffer zone would also provide an additional layer of protection to the existing area of biodiversity importance and make a fundamental contribution to the conservation of the nature reserve and the wider bay region, it said.

“We suggest that Nama release this land to the Department of the Environment to be held under the portfolio of lands cared for by the parks and wildlife service.”

Dublin city councillor Paddy McCartan (FG) said it was within the powers of Nama to keep some lands in trust for the public.

“There is no need to rush headlong into the sale of these lands. It’s not a ghost estate or some other property they need to get rid of.

“This should be retained as open space for the benefit of the adjoining area.”

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey has tabled a motion for next month’s council meeting seeking support for the land to be added to the nature reserve.

In 2003, An Bord Pleanála refused Mr McNamara’s Ashcastle developments planning permission for 53 luxury apartments and a public park on the land.

Mr McNamara subsequently located a helipad on the site, but its use was stopped by An Bord Pleanála, which determined in 2005 that the helipad would require planning permission.

Irish Times

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