Luas parking levy changes “legally questionable” without consultation

Cherrywood Luas light railway line has been criticised for its lack of park and ride car parks

A councillor says the move to reduce development levies for car parks is “legally questionable” without public consultation.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is to reduce development levies on temporary ‘park and ride’ car parks along the Luas line B1 extension to Cherrywood by 75%.

Councillors voted for the change at the council’s monthly meeting last Monday.

“I have considerable sympathy for any measure that would encourage park and ride facilities for the Luas line. But any major change to the development levy schemes is required to undergo proper consultation,” said Cllr Richard Humphreys.

“The decision of the FG and FF councillors to ram through this change without any such consultation is, in my view, legally questionable,” Humphreys said. He said that the results of consultation could have gone further than councillors have and shown that people wanted the levies removed fully.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county manager, Owen Keegan, told councillors last week that it was an “urgent issue,” that current levies are “penal,” and he said he was quite confidence that the changes are within the capacities of councillors.

He said the park and ride developments planned are temporary – for around five years — and the council would have to be satisfied that the parking charges and operation hours are reasonable. He said the Railway Procurement Agency is happy to rebate the Luas levy in full for the car parks.

Kathleen Holohan, director of planning for the council, said by her estimates car park owners would not make enough money to be able to pay back the original levies from the money earned from parking for five years.

Keegan said: “We are aware of a number of proposals, some of which already have planning permission and one or two in the process of getting permission. But it’s unlikely that any of these would proceed given the current levy.”

A number of councillors raised issues with unfairness of exempting levies for some while others have paid them or have to pay them before developing sites. It was agreed that the levied be reduced by 75% rather than removed fully. The vote was carried with 15 councillors for it and nine against.

Cllr Hugh Lewis (PBP / ULA) said, “The Luas system should have never been built without park and ride facilities in the first place. It’s systemic of bad planning.”

Cllr Tom Joyce (FG) said while councillors have said they are in favour of park and ride that some had voted against it already.

Cllr Victor Boyhan (Independent) said he knows of people who have had problems building extensions to their houses or building houses because their land is within the levy area.

Planning permission has been granted for the following car parks along the line:

  • 350 spaces at Carrickmines to the Railway Procurement Agency for 6 years (details)
  • 387 spaces beside Leopardstown Valley Luas stop to Viscount Securities for 5 years (details)
  • 78 spaces at Murphystown Road, Sandyford, to Fianna Fail councillor Thomas Murphy (details)

Still in the planning process:

  • 197 spaces at Cherrywood Science and Technology Park, Cherrywood, Loughlinstown, awaiting further information from Dunloe Management Services (details)

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