Motorway “kills off” 1,600 houses

AN architect for Jackson Way Properties has told a hearing into the company’s €47 million compensation claim that it could have built 1,600 houses and apartments if the last section of the M50 motorway had not been routed through its lands.

John Fleming, who runs his own practice in Dublin, retrospectively drew up hypothetical plans for a mixed housing development which he said would have been ideal for the site at Carrickmines in South County Dublin. He said he sought the advice of the estate agents Hamilton Osbourne King on what kind of properties would have sold well at the time Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council took over 20 acres of the land by compulsory purchase in June 2000.

Jackson Way are seeking payment for the 20 acres plus compensation for the loss of potential development value of a surrounding 89 acre site.

The company says the entire site would have been rezoned for housing if the motorway had not been brought through it.

The council is arguing the lands should be valued at their existing agricultural zoning. It is believed to have valued them at no more than €10 million.

Giving evidence on the sixth day of the hearing, Mr Fleming said he had “no doubt” planning permission would have been granted for a large scale housing development.

Under cross-examination by Dermot Flanagan SC for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Mr Fleming accepted that the plans were hypothetical and the Jackson Way lands had poor road access and were not serviced by a public water or sewage network.

Mr Fleming said very few development sites had such services in place prior to planning permission being granted but they would be developed in conjunction with the local authority, service providers and other landowners as necessary.

He said the bigger the scheme, the more easily such difficulties could be overcome because the financial returns involved meant it could bear the cost of large scale infrastructural works.

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