Stop Mountjoy Square being turned into a bus depot!

#1
Mountjoy Square is at present being turned into a bus depot; a month ago the entire east side of the park was without notice changed into a Dublin Bus only parking area. As the north and south sides were converted less than 2 years ago also into bus only areas, the effect that this is having is that the entire square is being developed by the back door into a bus depot.

If there is anyone here that is actually living in Mountjoy Square and cares about this, even if it is only to sign a petition, please email saveoursquare@gmail.com


An Taisce supports Dublin City Councillors in opposing Mountjoy Square being developed as a Bus Depot.

8th November 2007

Ireland's National Trust, An Taisce, is calling on Dublin City Council
roads department to reverse the development of Mountjoy Square for use
as a bus depot, which is contrary to the City Development Plan.

Mountjoy Square is considered by many to be the finest example of
Dublin's planned Georgian Squares, built between circa 1790 -1820.
Apart from the architectural heritage, it is worth noting that many
historical and literary figures had connections with it, including the
writers O' Casey, Joyce, and Yeats, and also the patriots Michael
Collins and John O' Leary.

It is with dismay that the Trust notes that after many years of
decline, the streetscapes of the square have been re-instated – only
for an on-street bus depot to be now developed around three and a half
sides of the park thus far – with more on the way.

All of this has been done without any consultation, and the cumulative
effect is to turn the square into a wrap-around bus depot. While An
Taisce is in favour of public transport, it is clearly not appropriate
that a Georgian Square should be developed by the backdoor into a bus
depot – especially as the large land bank of Broadstone Station is
closer to the city centre.

It is worth noting that contained in the Mountjoy Square park are a
childrens' playground and also a nursery school – while across the
road is a crèche; hence the effect is that a bus depot has been
developed in the middle of a triangle of child-focused facilities. We
believe that this poses obvious health and safety implications, as
children must now pass between parked buses when crossing the street.

It is also noted that diesel exhaust fumes poise a particular threat
to children, and that a number of studies have been carried out
including that by Dr Jonathan Grigg at the Institute for Lung Health
at the University of Leicester, as published by the British Thoracic
Society journal Thorax.

In view of these concerns, An Taisce wishes to ask the city officials
responsible for authorizing the depot as to the assessments that would
have been conducted in planning the new arrangement.

In particular, if details could be provided as to projections
regarding operational air impact, total air emissions, operational
noise assessment, analysis of activities of waste generation, and
proposals for management of the same. Also helpful would be the
quantitative methodology assessment used to address these impacts can
be provided, and also any proposals regarding mitigation of
non-compliance.

Noting that the City Development Plan defines a "Transport Depot" as
"Use of a building or land as a depot associated with the operation of
transport business to include parking and servicing of vehicles", An
Taisce is of the belief that the development throws up a host of
issues relating to the compliance with the City Development Plan.
These include policies in:

The Arts, Culture, and Tourism chapter, which states:

POLICY ACT11
It is the policy of Dublin City Council to ensure a high quality
public domain in the vicinity of cultural and heritage buildings and,
where possible, to ensure that such buildings are linked to public
spaces and to the wider open space network.

POLICY ACT12
It is the policy of Dublin City Council, through land use zoning,
policies and objectives, to protect and improve the tourism and
cultural amenities of Dublin city. Dublin City Council will seek to
protect the natural and built environment, which forms the basis of
the city's attractiveness for tourists.

The Transport Chapter, which under 7.7.0 identifies the need
"to eliminate the hazards of unsuitable lorry and bus parking in
residential and other areas"

The Recreational Amenity Chapter states:

"POLICY RO1
It is the policy of Dublin City Council to continue to manage and
protect public open spaces to meet the social, recreational,
conservational and ecological needs of the city, and to consider the
development of appropriate complementary facilities, which do not
detract from the amenities of spaces."

Heritage Policy

"POLICY H13
It is the policy of Dublin City Council to protect and enhance the
character and historic fabric of conservation areas in the control of
development."

And also 10.2.1 – Conservation Areas:

"Dublin has international importance as a Georgian city and this has
been reflected in the designation of the Georgian core as a
conservation area (Z8). A considerable part of the city centre is
comprised of Georgian terraces and planned squares which established a
national urban idiom. The Georgian area has experienced change and
development pressures over the past decades, with obsolescence being a
feature of parts of the north city."

"The special value of conservation areas lies in the architectural
design and scale of these areas and is of sufficient importance to
require special care in dealing with development proposals and works
by the private and public sector alike. Dublin City Council will thus
seek to ensure that development proposals within all conservation
areas complement the character of the area, including the setting of
protected structures, and comply with development standards. "

And also Childrens Play Space, 15.2.1, which states

"Playgrounds should be located so that nuisance is minimised but
should be overlooked informally from dwellings or frequented roads or
footpaths."


In view of these reservations, and until there are clarifications on
these matters, An Taisce wishes to support the vote by Dublin City
Councillors taken last Monday night which requests council officials
to immediately suspend the new bus designations pending the outcome of
a forthcoming review.


Ends.

For further information, please call 01 454 1786








Georgian Society opposes 'mini bus depot'
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor
7/11/2007

The Irish Georgian Society (IGS) has blamed "lack of joined-up
thinking" among different departments in Dublin City Council for the
installation of what it calls a "mini bus depot" on Mountjoy Square.

Last month, 10 pay-and-display car parking places on the east side of
the square - widely regarded as Dublin's finest in terms of its
proportions - were replaced by four bays to accommodate double-deck
buses from Summerhill garage nearby.

In a letter to city manager John Tierney, the IGS said it was
concerned that this change of use - intensified by the illegal parking
of private coaches - "will have a negative impact on the character of
one of Dublin city's most important architectural ensembles".

The society expressed surprise at the council's decision "especially
in light of its commitment to celebrate and encourage regeneration in
Dublin's Georgian core", as illustrated by the recent publication The
Georgian Squares of Dublin (2006).

Its chapter on Mountjoy Square, written by acting city architect John
Heagney, noted that the square was laid out in 1791 and built between
1793 and 1818, and that the importance of the square as a piece of
urban planning was appreciated from the start.

Given that Mountjoy Square is designated as a conservation area, the
IGS said it was "surprised by the apparent lack of joined-up thinking"
between Dublin City Council's architects, planning and conservation
departments and its traffic and roads department.

"This inconsistency has led to the creation of what could reasonably
be equated to a mini bus depot on Mountjoy Square, which cannot be
considered conducive to enhancing the character of the area...but
rather undermines it," the society said.

Mountjoy Square resident Ruadhán MacEoin said the bus parking had not
been approved in advance by councillors. "It is an absolute disgrace.
They [the city council traffic engineers] would never try to get away
with it on Merrion Square."

However, he was informed by Tim O'Sullivan, executive manager of the
council's roads and traffic department, that a section of Mountjoy
Square East had been reserved for Dublin Bus parking following the
issuing of an order from the Garda.

Mr O'Sullivan said Dublin Bus needed extra parking space in the city
centre, and "this need can only increase with the purchase of
additional buses for the fleet". It was likely that further private
car parking spaces would be converted to bus use
.

© The Irish Times