herald

Thursday 31 July 2014

Blackrock Park is no Dartmouth Square

A COUNCIL has rejected claims that a repeat of the Dartmouth Square fiasco is looming at another south Dublin park.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council has denied that issues around the ownership of lands at Blackrock Park could scupper redevelopment plans.

The local authority confirmed it does not have full legal title to all the lands, but rejected claims that the park's future could be in jeopardy.

And it has no plans to seek a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to acquire any of the land.

Former councillor Victor Boyhan had maintained that a multi-million euro masterplan for the park could not go ahead until the council gained full control of all the land.

"While the council acknowledges that it does not have full legal title to all of Blackrock Park, it does not accept that the master plan to redevelop Blackrock parklands cannot proceed," said a council spokesperson.



Rejection

Comparisons with Dartmouth Square were also rejected as the ownership situation was "fundamentally different".

The spokesperson said a "very significant" portion of the parklands between Booterstown and Blackrock Dart stations was held in fee simple by the council.

One plot was being held on a long lease and while this restricted its uses, it would not prevent redevelopment.

The council accepted there was a "lack of clarity" on the final plot, which has been occupied by the local authority since 1875. Conveyance of the land to the council was never formally executed.



Injunctions

"The council is confident that this will not prevent the proposed redevelopment of the park," the spokesperson stated. "Any outstanding issues in relation to our title can be resolved, and at this stage, the council is not considering a CPO to acquire the land."

Mr Boyhan said the council needed to pursue full title to the lands to avoid a recurrence of "the Dartmouth Square situation", in which businessman Noel O'Gara bought that two-acre square in Ranelagh for less than €10,000 in 2005.

In June, Dublin City Council offered to buy the square from Mr O'Gara for €300,000, but he rejected this as "an insult".

Since purchasing the land, Mr O'Gara has had several injunctions brought to stop him operating a car park and tile shop at the square.

Dublin City Council has since decided it will not be attempting to acquire the square by CPO, as this would prove too expensive.

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