Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Planning levies for Luas parking to be cut

PLANNING LEVIES for landowners and developers who want to build park-and-ride facilities along the route of the Cherrywood Luas line in Dublin are to be cut in half in a bid to provide facilities for commuters.

Councillors in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council voted to cut the “Section 48” levies earlier this week.

As a result, one will have a levy he was due to pay the council dropped from almost €139,000 to just over €69,000.

Fianna Fáil councillor Tom Murphy already has planning permission for a car park with 78 spaces on his lands at Murphystown Road, close to the Luas line. It was granted on a temporary basis for five years last October.

Two other park-and-ride facilities have also been given permission by the council at Carrickmines and Ballyogan Road.

These will provide more than 700 spaces between them and are being developed by the Railway Procurement Agency and Dublin company Viscount Securities respectively.

A fourth application for park-and-ride facilities has yet to be decided by the council. Dunloe Management Services wants to provide 197 spaces at Cherrywood Science and Technology Park, near the Luas terminus.

The planning levy was introduced in 2009 to raise funds for the development of the extension line. Other developments, including business expansion and domestic extensions, will not be affected by the cut.

Since the Cherrywood line opened last October, commuters have been struggling to find parking along its route.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown county manager Owen Keegan had recommended the levy be abolished to encourage the provision of parking facilities.

He said the levy was “penal” and he had spoken to a number of developers on the matter. In at least one case, the cost of the levy was significantly higher than the cost of building the car park.

He told councillors the cut would apply to existing planning permissions. But councillors instead voted for what amounted to a halving of the levy.

A council source said while Mr Murphy was not present in the chamber when the vote was taken, he did not declare to the chamber that he had an interest in the decision. Despite numerous efforts, Mr Murphy was not contactable yesterday for comment.

Fine Gael deputy Olivia Mitchell welcomed the reduction in the levy for car parks, but said the scheme should be overhauled.

“Levies amounting to thousands of euro on new businesses are simply no longer realistic.

“No local authority can afford to risk losing jobs by making itself so expensive that businesses can neither set up nor expand their enterprises,” she said.

Irish Times


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