BISHOPSTOWN and Wilton urgently need a new statutory Local Area Plan (LAP) before the area is choked by traffic and development, councillors have warned.
Councillors have rejected a report from city planners that states other areas, such as the City Docks and Tivoli Docks are being prioritised for LAPs because of their potential for growth.
Councillor Jerry Buttimer (FG) said he believes the Bishopstown/Wilton area has been neglected for over a decade and has called for a full review and implementation of the non-statutory 2008 Bishopstown and Wilton Area Action Plan and questioned the level of meetings, consultations, site visits and assessments that have taken place as part of this - as well as the staff time allocated and expenditure on the plan.
Mr Buttimer said “[The city council] has neglected this part of the city and nothing has changed. There is a real risk that Bishopstown will become submerged into the city centre. I fear for its future.
Henry Cremin (SF) said traffic levels are at “saturation” levels due to the level of development in the area.
“Living in Bishopstown, there are constant bottlenecks. We are saturated with traffic, With the amount of people coming in and out of Bishopstown, it must be prioritised. We need an LAP,” he added.
Plans to tackle traffic at Wilton are in the works with the Wilton Corridor Project aiming to provide six lanes on the busy route — a bus lane and a bike lane city-bound and outbound, and a single traffic lane each way for regular vehicular traffic.
The plans also include the shifting of traffic flow through the busy Dennehy’s Cross junction slightly westwards and the installation of traffic lights at the junction of Wilton Gardens. However, councillors have called for the area to get its own statutory LAP to deal with issues such as sustainable planning and economic and social development.
Wilton Shopping Centre is also set to undergo a €100m redevelopment which includes plans for a 190-bed hotel, a 14-screen cinema, a two-storey extension to Penneys and other retail space, as well as an 874-space, multi-level car park - which is expected to bring more traffic into the area.
However, city planner, Fearghal Reidy, said the resources to review the existing Area Action Plan are not available and statutory LAPs are being prioritised in other areas. “The Bishopstown Wilton Action Area Plan was prepared in 2008. The plan was a non-statutory plan which reviewed local issues and key policies and proposals were incorporated into the 2009 City Development Plan. These policies were reviewed and, where appropriate, updated as part of the preparation of the City Development Plan 2015-2021.
“Resources to prepare and review non-statutory action area plans are limited and it is therefore necessary to prioritise the areas that would most benefit from them.
“On this basis the City Docks and Tivoli Docks have been identified in the City Plan for updated and new Local Area Plans and these plans are in preparation. While resources are not available at present to carry out an extensive review of the Bishopstown/Wilton action area plan, preparation of a new City Development Plan is due to commence in 2019 and areas such as this are part of that process.”