andMr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan) asked the Minister for Local Government what steps are being taken to consult with all property occupiers in central Dublin affected by the Lichfield Plan, to ensure the least possible disruption of business and fair compensation; and if he will particularly require that full and frank negotiations take place with the people concerned before any further deals are made by the Corporation or its agents with outside interested parties.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lichfield Plan.
The document which the Deputies describe as the Lichfield Plan was an advisory document commissioned by the planning authority for a part of the central city area. I understand that in the revised statutory draft development plan for Dublin which is now on public display no part of the area in question has been designated as an obsolete area within the meaning of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963, but that the area is described in the draft plan as a comprehensive development area where it will be the policy of the planning authority actively to promote and assist re-development. It is open to any interested parties to make objections and representations to the planning authority with regard to the contents of the draft plan and such representations and objections must be considered by the planning authority before the final plan is made.
The only firm proposal for re-development of part of this area of which I am aware is a re-development scheme which has been proposed for an area of about seven acres bounded by Moore Street, Parnell Street, Chapel Lane and Sampsons Lane. I understand that this scheme was the subject of detailed discussions between local interests and representatives of the planning authority before any steps were taken to try to put it into effect. The planning authority decided to make a compulsory purchase order for the area affected and to enter into negotiations with a private development company, which was already the largest landowner in the area, with a view to having the proposed re-development carried out in partnership with the planning authority.
A compulsory purchase order was accordingly made and submitted to me for confirmation in June, 1968. Objections to the order were received and a public local inquiry was held in September and October, 1968. The evidence given at the inquiry will be fully considered by me before I make a decision on whether or not the order should be confirmed.
I am satisfied that the interests of existing property owners and occupiers in the so-called Lichfield area and in any other area which may become the subject of urban renewal proposals are fully protected by law. There is nothing to stop the existing owners and occupiers from carrying out re-development themselves but in many cases it may be essential for the planning authority to use their powers to ensure that comprehensive renewal schemes are undertaken. Obviously such schemes can only go ahead if the planning authority are able to take over all the properties affected and they can only do this either by free negotiation or by invoking compulsory powers in order to acquire them. If they seek to acquire the properties affected compulsorily, owners and occupiers have the statutory right to object to the Minister and to have their objections considered at a public inquiry. If property is eventually taken over as a result of a compulsory purchase order which has been confirmed by the Minister, the parties affected are entitled to compensation and, where appropriate, allowances for disturbance and loss of goodwill. If the amount of compensation cannot be settled by agreement, the matter must be referred to the official arbitrator for settlement.
Will the Minister ensure that Dublin Corporation will not so actively promote and assist foreign development, in secret, that the interests of people who are actually working or living in the area are harmed and are overlooked because that, I suggest, is what has been happening? The corporation have been assisting foreigners in secret and Dublin people who have worked there and are giving employment in that place are being ignored.
I do not think that is so. As I pointed out, the interests of the people concerned in the area are adequately safeguarded and what the planning authority have been doing is promoting the renewal and re-development of this particular area but, as I said, objections have been made, a public inquiry has been held, and the report will be considered in detail by me before any decision is made.