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Residents Face Further Trouble With Fatima Developer

category dublin | housing | feature author Friday March 16, 2007 15:25author by d.farrell - four terraces residents groupauthor phone 0866073877 Report this post to the editors

Residents begin painstaking process to decide where to go from here

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Residents of adjoining streets to Fatima Regeneration Project Phase 2 under the representative body of The Four Terraces Residents Group find themselves pondering on what course of action to take following two more days of late construction operations on 12/3/07 and 13/3/07.

This was in direct conflict with relevent planning conditions which restrict construction works to within the hours of 8am-6pm Mon-Fri and 8am-4.30pm Sat and despite the site operating under notice from DCC Planning Enforcement for previous breaches of planning conditions.Residents Representatives fear a deal to agree future road closures necassary for construction programme is now unlikely as a consequence of developers actions and apparent DCC Planning Enforcements inactions.

Putting it All Together: Residents Block RoadsAs Fatima Developer's Traffic Plan Fails | Earthquakes in D8 andProblems with dialogue between residents and Fatima Developers | Housing activists meet to discuss redevelopment & privatisation of their homes | A local community rejects Public Private Partnerships | Elliot Constructions Portfolio on Fatima | FFF vs PPP: Fight For the Flats or Public Private Partnerships? | All Eyes On Upcoming PPP Conference | Noise Hacker's New Place, Same Faces community art | People Before Profit Public Meeting expresses concerns on land value from Fatima | Living with state dereliction in St Michael's: local community rejects privatisation of their homes

The Fatima Regeneration Project Phase 2 commenced on March 06.It is a PPP(public private partnership) between Dublin City Council Housing Dept and P.Elliot/Maplewood.It announced its arrival into our part of the comunity by erecting steel gates to block acess to Reuben Street,which is a main thoroughfare to vehicles,cyclists and pedestrians in an act reminecent of the erection of Berlins Checkpoint Charlie.This was done without local consultation or adequate notice to local residents,some of whom actually lived on the street itself.Following enquiries of local agrieved residents to DCC Dept in Civic Offices responsible for approval of road closures it became apparrent that not only was an order permitting the Developer to cloes Reuben Street not granted but the Developer had not even made an application to DCC Road Closure Section,Civic Offices.This made the closure illegal.

As a consequence of residents action on this issue the road was reopened and a consultation process began chaired by CEO of Fatima Regeneration Board J.Whyte.It was during this process that residents in adjoining streets became aware of many issues that were to arise in the future both during construction and post construction that would have possible negative effects on them.Residents were also made aware that the FRB had an established structure called the Demolition & Construction Working Group whose purpose was to act as an official forum to address(with decision making powers) issues of any relevence to the projects construction.The first issue of business was the 12mth temporary road closure of Reuben Street.Prior to the Developers eventual application the only alternative pedestrian walkway proposed by the Developer was the reopening of a laneway known locally as "the back of the pipes".This route runs along the old boundary between Fatima and Maryland.It was ironically closed in the mid nineties after acting for decades as a mecca for anti social activity and drug dealing much to the applause of local residents.The reopening of this route was never going to be an acceptable option to local residents.

As a consequence of "the back of the pipes" being the only alternative offered not being acceptable to residents in surrounding streets due to its history and the fact that materialised during discussions that Reuben Street would need to remain closed not just for 12mths but for the duration of the project(approx 3yrs from Mar 06) forced the Developer back to the drawing board before the road closure application could be processd.The Developers second choice alternative was a pedestrian/cyclist route from St James Walk to St Anthonys Road and onto South Circular Road via a new street called Reuben Walk which subsequently turned out to be nothing more than a laneway.When the application was made with this as the proposed alternative an unprecedented number of objections were made to DCC from all surrounding sections of the community of Rialto resulting in DCC,Civic Offices refusing to make a decision without furthur local dicussion.Again during this period of consultation DCC Housing Dept Project Office attempted to secure a hoarded laneway version of "the back of the pipes" which was proposed to run parallel to the previous "back of the pipes" from Reuben Street to Clarkes Terrace and onto St James Walk.This was pushed because the Developer stated he could not widen Reuben Walk to facilitate the transport of two pushchairs or wheelchairs.Subsequently the revised "back of the pipes" alternative was rejected by residents on the grounds of fear for the safety of users and the possibility of increased anti social behaviour and as a consequence of this the Developer miraciously found a way to widen Reuben Walk to facilitate it becoming a possible alternative.Reuben Street subsequently closed for a period of 12mths on 18/4/06 by order,this order expires on 17/4/07 at which time the Developer must apply and give notice of application via national media (normally Irish Times)four weeks prior to the applied closure date in order to facilitate objections,this notice should appear over coming days/weeks.Interested parties are advised to watch out for this notice in order to exercise your right to object within provided for period.

During the consultation period to permit the closure of Reuben Street,P.Elliot Project Management underhandedly made an application for a furthur road closure to another street surrounding the Development.Although the name on the application was also the same person who acted at the time as the Developers Rep on the D&CWG he did not provide resident reps with this relevent and vital information in advance thus resulting in the period in which objections could be made expiring without any objections being made therefore leaving the way clear for DCC to grant the closure order without any compulsion to consult effected local residents being required to be attached to the order.This cunning slight of hand was met with immense local anger which is still apparent today even though the incident occurred May 06.This anger led residents to demand an investigation into the incident by the FRB,residents reps were eventually informed by FRB Independent Chairperson that it was the opinion of the Board that DCC Project Office had not been in posession of advance notice of the application for closure of St James Walk.However to date the Board has not offered a deliberation or an opinion on the Developers role in this issue.Regardless any action would have been retrospective and the order granting the road closure irreversible.The damage caused by P.Elliott on relations with local residents was alo irreversible.

What followed as a consequense of the lack of respect or recognition of the need and right of local consultation was that access by vehicle to residents living along the city end of St James Walk to Rialto Village and beyond was removed for a period of 6mths as a consequence of the double road closures of Reuben Street and St James Walk together.Pedestrian and cycle access was via a dimly light hoarded laneway/walkway.This gave rise to terrible inconvenience to wheelchair bound residents and safety concerns for the passage of local teenage girls and older residents especially at night time.Local residents had also harboured and raised concerns that the closures would effect commuting traffic and luas users from outside the immediate locality whose needs would not necassarily be represented.Local residents reps representations on their behalf were dismissed.

Between May 06 and Oct 06 residents reps engaged with D&CWG of the FRB on a wide range of issues including working hour breaches and lack of enforcement of planning conditions,noise/dust and littering and the failure of the Development to implement a satisfactory traffic/parking management system.On 13/10/06 the Four Terraces Residents Group gave notice that it had no confidence in the established structures to address their concerns and subsequently suspended engagement with the project.Working hour breaches continued concluding in a mass protest at 6pm on the site by residents on 24/11/06,DCC Planning Enforcement witnessed at residents request and subsequently served notice on the site for breaking its conditions of planning,this is ironic considering DCC is a partner in the Development.

All during this period of suspension reps met with FRB CEO and reps of other residential areas engaged with the established structures tediously trying to recreate the conditions for re-engagement.Confidence building measures were identified as being a requisite to facilitate re-engagement.FRB agreed at its monthly meeting to appoint a new more senior P.Elliott rep to the D&CWG.The Four Terraces Resident Group was not represented at this meting as it was never included in the Board membership make-up.A meeting was necassary with this new P.Elliott rep prior to any re-engagement decision to asertain if this appointment was going to bring a new dynamic to the D&CWG,this was agreed by all vested parties except DCC Project Office.DCC Project Management complained to FRB and the meeting was cancelled and has not taken place to date.

In recent weeks Fatima based community leaders/activists and the representatives of surrounding streets have been meeting to agree an agenda to be put to the residents of the local community,a brave iniative considering the level of anger held by residents against DCC Project Office and P.Elliott.This iniative was designed to fill the vacum left by the lack of dialogue in recent months.This iniative was also based on the reality that issues relevent to and necassary to the construction phase of the Development that were contentious to local residents would also have to be discussed with a purpose to exploring if an agreement could be reached between residents and Developer that would pave the way for an un- obstructed,harmonious completion to construction and a confident return to established structures as the forum for effectively resolving future problems.This forum is probably more a necassary requirement to DCC Project Office and P.Elliott than it is to the surrounding community as it will be required to reach local agreement to secure the retention of the closure of Reuben Street for the next 12mths especially considering the fact that the current alternative route,Reuben Walk is also due to be closed in june 07 leaving no pedestrian access whatsoever through the site for an unknown period of time.As a consequence of both imminent closures the only other possible alternative within the existing construction programme is a modified or actual opening of"the back of the pipes",if this is a considered alternative to secure the closure of Reuben Street for the next 12mths local agreement is absolutely necassary.With that in mind one must seriously question the wisdom of the Developer to blatantly breach the hours of work planning conditions on Mon 12/3/07 and Tue 13/3/07 by several hours and leave noisy machinery running all night on Mon 12/3/07 causing disturbance to local residents and creating furthur bad feeling.

As a consequence of this a deal is at risk of slipping out of reach.The clock is ticking towards the application for the road closure of Reuben Street.Both DCC Project Office and P.Elliott have created a dilemma for themselves and the Regeneration Board.This issue also poses questions as to the status of the planning permission as it was a legal requirement that the planning application be accompanied by an Envoirnmental Impact Study which makes reference that all road closures during construction should be partial where possible and that cycle and pedestrian access should be maintained at all times.

Any information in relation to the legality of the existing planning permission would be appreciated.Also any contact or assistance of a legal nature would be appreciated by local residents in their on-going battle.Residents are currently considering how to proceed and have not ruled out furthur protests and or a legal challange.

THIS IS A SATURDAY WHEN WORK SHOULD STOP AT 16.30PM
THIS IS A SATURDAY WHEN WORK SHOULD STOP AT 16.30PM

CEMENT BEING UNLOADED AT 6.15PM WORK SHOULD STOP AT 6PM
CEMENT BEING UNLOADED AT 6.15PM WORK SHOULD STOP AT 6PM

CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC AND PARKING CAUSE PEDESTRIAN HAZARDS
CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC AND PARKING CAUSE PEDESTRIAN HAZARDS

author by Gregpublication date Sat Mar 17, 2007 19:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Developers cannot be allowed to get away with constantly doing things like this,!

author by Liberties Boypublication date Sat Mar 17, 2007 20:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The remaining residents of Fatima and the surrounding streets affected by the development are wasting their time (and their money) if they think that legal action will remedy their complaint with P. Elliott and their partners in crime, DCC.

A successful blockade of the site entrance could be undertaken by as few as 7-8 people. If protesters are physically removed, I'm sure there are others behind willing to take their place.

The development is 8-9 weeks behind schedule, hence the rush at the moment. Shut down the site for a few days, that should concentrate their minds more than the threat of legal action...

author by john mcdermott - www.soldiersofdestiny.orgpublication date Sun Mar 18, 2007 22:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In this country developers get away with anything.
the previous commentator is right though. If a handful of the sheep who complain put their money where their mouth is.. something might happen.!
until that happens its business as usual for the Ballybrit crowd.

Related Link: http://www.fiannafailparty.info
author by d.farrell - four terraces residents grouppublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 14:26author email dam.farr at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The comments on the article are welcome.Direct action i.e site blocade/protest is an option that residents have not only considered but have actually employed on no more than six occassions already to resolve specific issues from a wider agenda.All of these protests have been effective in achieving results.However it is vitally important that commenters and readers alike fully understand the complexities of the effects of haphazardly embarking on a prolonged site protest and or legal action that may result in an injunction closing down the site.

The Fatima Regeneration Project on the main is a housing project,at the moment some former Fatima residents are currently being temporarily housed off site awaiting the completion of their new homes on completion of this current phase of the development(Phase 2) there are also some residents currently living in homes constructed in Phase 1 under overcrowded conditions awaiting completion of social and in some cases affordable houses of Phase 2.

Agrieved residents of surrounding streets are mindful that their actions may result in a delay for these people whom are considered neighbours and in a lot of cases are family members or friends.Careful consideration of how to proceed is due to a consideration of these facts coupled with the reality that all the community groups,creche,after school,arts and youth projects etc are currently being housed in portacabins awaiting completion of the new neighbourhood centre also in Phase 2.Agrieved residents are at pains to consider how to proceed because they are aware they are running out of alternative options,this is due to a sense of community and not because they are sheep.

 
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