What led me to comment on this site was the statement of John Gormley that he would introduce legislation to deal with Mr. O'Gara. This is an acceptance that legislation as it exists support Mr O'Gara. We do not live in Stalinist Russia or nazi Germany where we can introduce laws where we can deny to a person his property simply because it is desired by others.
Land is a hetrogenous commodity precisely because it is unlike anything else in that it is affected by many different circumstances; primarily based upon a specific plots's relationship with adjoining plots, public ways, the water table below and the air above; location and point of the market cycle being the only other major factors .
There is a direct correlation between the intensity of a land use and the level of regulation affecting same; i.e. in an area where there is a lot of human activity land is zoned to specify what is and is not permissable. This system is common accross the developed World and in the greater scheme of things the Irish system is probably considered to be at the lower end of the top quartile in that respect.
The laws that are proposed do not affect Mr O'Gara's right to own the land he has purchased but rather to regulate his use of it in the same way as lead was banned from petrol the regulation will prevent misuse by any owner of what is clearly amenity land created as recreational space to give architectural context to what was in this case the centre piece of the Darley Estate but the same principles could equally be applied to Say Merrion Square or Fitzwilliam Square should they fall into the hands of someone who has no respect for the law of the land and or shows no respect for the law or the servants of same. The regulations are aimed preserving architectural conservation areas and I for one welcome moves in this direction.
My advice is that the Council should independantly value the land with the aid of objective valuers assisted by legal and planning experts. This could be done outside the CPO process, and if this value is affordable then it should be offered to Mr. O'Gara. I am sure he would accept a reasonable offer at this point. The problem with some people is that they don't want the park as much as they don't want to see Mr. O'Gara profit. Pay the man what he is due or leave him alone ,or to put it straighter, piss or get off the pot
A Compulsory Purchase Valuation is not something undertaken on the back of a John Player box it must be grounded and supported by comparable evidence to take into account that the losing party may take legal action and as such must stand up to necessary scrutiny. As outlined above the development potential of this plot of land which forms a protected vista from some 50 dwellings and three roads is very close to nil.
Combine this with a tree preservation order and likely condition to keep the residual curtilage and railings in good repair and you start to get a picture of just how much downside this holding has.
Legislation is required and it must ensure an outright prohibition upon the development of any recreational lands in planned square with an ACA designation.
It must place a requirement to keep insured any recreational areas in urban areas that are bounded on all sides by public highways.
It must set out substantial fines for allowing lands within urban areas to be used for consumption of alcohol by minors by way of not secured such lands in a reasonable manner.
It must set out substantial penalties for carrying out uses constituting an intensification of land use without the consent of the planning authority; including imprisonment for repeated breaches even if these are different uses.
I am privalaged to work in the property industry and love development, but in conservation areas alterations must be exactly that and what is best must be protected from greedy opportunists who over hear a pub conversation and throw entire neighbourhoods into chaos.