Anybody see the crap about it in The Freeman section of the Indo business section today?
PROPERTY developer and entrepreneur Jim Mansfield is inclined to play ducks and drakes with the planning laws, but few can deny that his facility at Citywest is first class. So he has every right to feel aggrieved that An Bord Pleanala has blocked his expansion plans, for the very flimsiest of reasons.
Mansfield's vision for Citywest was ahead of its time. He correctly foresaw that there was demand for a hotel and golf facility that served the big industrial base around the Naas Road and the M50, positioned five minutes from Newlands Cross.
Before he built his conference centre, Dublin was ill-served with such facilities. The RDS has upped its game since Mansfield came along, but it's in an area where traffic access is now a daily nightmare.
Harry Crosbie's Point Theatre has never caught on as a venue for commercial events and there are traffic problems there, too.
Since 2003, Mansfield has been endeavouring to construct Citywest 2, which would add 6,000 capacity to the 4,000 already there. The expansion was enthusiastically endorsed by both officials of South Dublin County Council and the councillors.
However, An Bord Pleanala has ignored this expression of local democracy and refused permission to make the Citywest centre any bigger. The board decided that a centre like Citywest should have "full access to supporting recreational, accommodation and cultural facilities".
However, Fianna Fail Ard Fheis delegates want a bed, a drink and a meal. Citywest has all those. They don't want to visit an art gallery anyway.
The board also decreed that such a major facility "should be located in a core commercial area, such as city centre or major town centre, in order to avail of a range of public transport options".
Because the proposed convention centre would be "reliant primarily on private transport", it would contravene the policies set out in the regional planning guidelines to reduce the growth in demand for transport.
Again, this is a load of tosh. The issue of public transport doesn't concern organisers of events in Citywest. They recognise that people who want to attend a property exhibition don't mind hopping in their cars to get there.
Harry Crosbie objected to Citywest's expansion - yet more than a decade after the Point opened, the venue still isn't served by a regular Dublin Bus service.
In any event, the State has recently invested hundreds of millions in both the M50 and widening the N7. Citywest's location on the city fringe is much better suited to traffic modalities than the national convention centre that has been earmarked for Spencer Dock.
Mansfield knows that the Spencer Dock centre is coming down the tracks. Yet he was willing to risk his capital to take it on. It's a shame that his enterprise has been stymied by ivory tower inhabitants. [\QUOTE]