Clerys closure highlights need for Planning Intervention
Planning policy failure undermining Dublin and other urban centers
An Taisce is seeking the intervention of both the Minister for Environment Community and Local Government Alan Kelly and the Minister for Transport Sport Paschal Donohoe on the planning policy failure which has contributed to the Clerys closure.
Current Government polices on national planning and transport by the Departments of the Environment and Transport are supposed to curtail further car based out of town retail development which damages and undermines urban centres.
These policies are not being applied.
In 2009 the Department of Transport published “Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future – A new Transport Policy for Ireland 2009-2020” which set out 49 specific actions including under 2 : “a general restriction of the future development of out of town retail centres except in exceptional circumstances and consideration of a similar requirement that parking charges be introduced for most existing centres.” This policy has not been implemented. The Inter Departmental working group which was meant to enforce the Smarter Travel actions and have biannual reviews from 2010 has not been established.
Despite Retail Planning Guidelines published by the Department of the Environment which are supposed to protect urban centres, local councils and An Bord Pleanála are continuing to make decisions expanding car based motorway orientated retail space. In the Greater Dublin Area, the Board approved major expansion of retail space at the Kildare Village and Liffey Valley Shopping centre in recent years.
The continuing failure of Government to address parking is undermining the physical, social and economic base of urban centres.
The current review of the National Spatial Strategy for a new National Planning Policy Framework, which will be on a statutory basis, needs to set out a positive vision with legally enforceable planning guidance for walkable urban and rural communities, with a significant shift from car dependency to cycling and public transport. Free urban edge parking must be curtailed with a charging regime to incentivise modal shift against car use.
In the interim An Taisce will be seeking the protection of the retail use in Clerys, and would oppose any proposal for office or other uses in the upper floors.
ENDS For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Offocer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland