The proposed new City Edge development of 40,000 homes on Dublin’s Naas Road could be five minutes from Heuston station and 10 minutes to the city center by train if there is investment in new rail infrastructure, a conference has heard.
Mick Mulhern, chief planning officer for South Dublin County Council, said significant investment in public transport was needed to unlock the potential of the 700-hectare site that could provide enough homes for up to 85,000 people and 75,000 jobs.
Speaking at a conference in Dublin on the City Edge project, Mulhern said a new train station was needed, which could become a major rail junction “similar to Kings Cross” in London as well as the new Loas station.
Irish Rail has already planned to expand services to the west of the city under the Dart+ programme, but Mr Mulhern said there was no downtime in the site’s service. The project proposes a stop at Kylemore, south of Ballyfermot.
“We’re looking forward to a new railroad intersection at that station that will stop there 15 trains an hour in both directions, bringing you to Houston in five minutes and to Connolly and downtown in about 10 to 12 minutes,” he said.
“It nonetheless brings great opportunities not only for those who live in and just north of Ballevermotte, but also as a King’s Cross-like intersection that becomes the focal point for a new center around that.”
There is currently a Luas station in Kylemore in the center of the site, but Mr Mulhern said there was the potential for an additional stop “with the express intention of focusing on more intensive uses around that”.
Roger Madeleine, who heads Canada’s Water Redevelopment Project in London for British Territories and previously led the King’s Cross renovation, said the first homes in the new development should be low-rise apartments for “people” and “the wealthy” rather than “the most needy and dependent”. To give people confidence in the scheme before building taller blocks.
“The rich, the rich have to live somewhere and they obviously tend to have more choices because they have that wealth,” he said. “Make the first six-storey housing project for people who have a choice.”
When the less wealthy see those with money choosing to live in an area, he said, they are more likely to accept change.
“Don’t force the neediest and dependent populations into things they don’t feel comfortable with because they are different and unusual.” Instead, “create something cool, so aspiring people who are likely to be high-income earners move on first,” he said.
“I’m not saying you don’t do any subsidized housing, but when people see people who have the option to move into a six-story development with plenty of space and great public amenities, and connected to public transportation and bike routes, people will go from saying ‘You won’t force me to live’ There” to “Oh, that’s very nice, actually,” he said.
“Then you might get support from changing from very low intensity to medium intensity.”
Victoria Hills, chief executive of the Royal Institute of Town Planning, said it was critical for the project to have a robust planning framework and design code put in place by planning authorities “rather than outsourcing to developers”.
“Spécialiste de la télévision sans vergogne. Pionnier des zombies inconditionnels. Résolveur de problèmes d’une humilité exaspérante.”