#CruiseBerthHearings - At almost 100,000 tonnes Mein Schiff 4, the largest ever cruiseship to anchor so close to Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, was also the same day that Afloat.ie learnt that An Bord Pleanála is to proceed with oral hearings into the planning application of the proposed yet controversial €18m cruise-berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.
An Bord Pleanála has advised that both of the oral hearings are to be begin next month. The hearings in October are been held in accordance with section 134 (I) of the Planning & Development Act 2000, in respect of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company’ s planning application for the cruise-berth facility.
The proposed 435m long single cruise-berth jetty, associated structures and dredging of the channel off St. Michaels Wharf and a 500m turning circle outside the harbour entrance would enable ships considerably larger than Mein Schiff 4 to dock in the harbour. The new $625m German cruiseship had anchored less than one nautial mile off the East Pier during her her maiden call to the harbour following a visit to Belfast Harbour.
Last month a deadline expired for a public consultation process on the cruise-berth project in Dun Laoghaire Harbour that led to An Bord Pleanála receiving 150 submissions.
Due to the scale and complexity of the planning application, the board of An Bord Pleanála, has decided to hold a preliminary meeting on 7 October in advance of the more substantive oral hearing to be held a week later on 14 October. This second hearing is scheduled to run for approximately 8 days over two separate timeframes within that month.
A Senior Planning Inspector has been appointed by the board of An Bord Pleanála during the oral hearings regards the submissions and observations raised in regards to the likely effects on the environment of the proposed cruise-berth. In addition, the consequences for proper planning and sustainable development in the area are to be considered, and the likely effects on a European site will also be reported to the board.
This latest development on the oral hearings reported here on Afloat.ie follows a Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council meeting held earlier this week where, according to the Gazette, a request was made by local councillors for the An Bord Pleanála to conduct such hearings into the cruise berth project. A motion tabled by Cllr Victor Boylan (Ind) was held where 23 councillors were in favour of the oral hearing and 13 councillors voted against it.
Cllr Boyhan said he was “disappointed at the planning authority report drawn up by the council executive” and was therefore happy with the motion being passed to seek an oral hearing with An Bord Pleanála's planning inspector prior to a decision being made on the cruise berth.
He added: “I think it is significant that 150 people came together, and paid €50 per submission, to air their views on the proposed cruise berth plans.”
For more on the topic, click the local newspaper’s report here.