Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Visit To Greystones - July 2013

Greystones may not be my favourite seaside town (mainly because of the somewhat unattractive beach) but I do like the town and I do try to visit at least four or five times a year and while there I usually have lunch at Bochelli's. Today as the weather here in Dublin was really good I decided to get the DART to Greystones and arrived at the restaurant at about one o'clock. On entering the restaurant the owner recognised me and mentioned that he had not seen me in over a year and it turned out that he was correct. During our discussion he mentioned that things in the town (including business) had actually improved since last year and he suggested that I should visit the new harbour as there had been some improvements since my last visit. There was a €300 million redevelopment programme for the harbour, to be constructed by the Sispar consortium (Sispar is a joint venture consortium of Sisk and Michael Cotter's Park Developments) in a public-private partnership with Wicklow County Council. The development scheme was and still continues to be a major topical issue in the town and surrounding areas. Objections revolved around the privatisation of public beach front land without broad public agreement, but work started despite the objections. The development was to include a new harbour, 341 apartments, a 230 berth marina, a new public plaza and facilities for local sporting clubs. On the granting of planning permission, 6,210 submissions were received by An Bord Plean├íla on initial plans, of which more than 6,200 were objections. Many of the objections came from outside County Wicklow, according to a spokesman for Wicklow County Council. Many objected to specifics of the plan while approving the general idea. An oral hearing was held and the board requested the developers to make certain changes which resulted in the plans being scaled down by approximately 10%. Some 3,700 objections were made on these updated plans. On 9 August 2007, the board approved the final plans, while imposing 13 conditions on construction works, including the retention of public access to the Cliff Walk during the development period, strict guidelines in relation to dust suppression, the re-use of demolition materials, and limitations on the hours of operation and noise levels. The board also overruled an earlier inspector's report, instead permitting an old unlicenced landfill to remain beside the new apartments. In February 2010, it was announced that development would be put on hold indefinitely due to conditions in the Irish property market. Greystones Harbour Marina opened on 1st April 2013 with 100 berths available initially. I have been unable to establish the current status of the development … anyone in a position to provide more information?

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