Monday, 25 March 2013

Docklands SDZ

I welcome the publication today of a draft Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) Plan for Dublin’s Docklands which has the potential to stimulate economic and social regeneration of Dublin’s Docklands.

The SDZ must deliver regeneration for the entire community and correct planning mistakes of the past. The exclusion of parts of the North Wall, where there is the greatest need for economic and social regeneration, is a major flaw in the draft plan and the Minister should correct this.

The 60 hectare Docklands area on the banks of the Liffey is strategically important for the City, the Region and the State. The SDZ centres on the area between Spencer Dock and Point Village on the north side and the Grand Canal Dock Area on the south side. Most critically the draft SDZ excludes, one of the most economically deprived parts of the North Wall, an area bordered by Amiens Street and Guild Street.

Planning has a huge role to play in the development of the Docklands. The draft plan, prepared by Dublin City Council, indicates the type and extent of the development to be permitted in the docklands and deals with issues like urban design, transport, service provision, public amenities and community services.

It will be a missed opportunity to address past planning mistakes if the final SDZ excludes parts of the North Wall area where there is the greatest need for economic and social regeneration. The part of the North Wall that has been excluded records some of the highest levels of social deprivation in the state. Despite the success of the IFSC there has been very little social housing or investment in social infrastructure on the North side of the docks. The draft SDZ focuses exclusively on a part of the north docks that records very high socio economic scores and as a consequence will not correct the imbalance in social investment that is needed to develop a successful urban community.

The plan is supposed to be a blueprint for moving the Docklands forward however by excluding parts of Sheriff Street and the North Wall it is a blueprint for a two-tier docklands. Excluding parts of the North Wall from the SDZ will increase and compound the social and economic divide that already exists in the Docklands. It will potentially make a ghetto of part of the community, fail to bridge the social divide or address the real social, educational and community needs in the area.

A six week public consultation begins today Monday 25th March and will continue until Friday 10th May, inclusive. It is really important for the city that we get this plan right and I encourage members of the public to review the plan and to make a submission calling on the Minister to extend the SDZ boundary to include all of the North Wall area.

I will continue to work with and support the local community to get the best possible plan for the Docklands area.  Mary