Up to 2,000 homes and businesses in Dublin could have their properties taken over by Compulsory Purchase Order after Iarnrod Eireann were granted planning permission yesterday to build a DART underground line.
As part of the planning conditions for the development, Irish Rail operators have been given up to 2018 to formally tell owners along the route if their land will be needed to build the line. Normally CPOs have to be made within 18 months.
The decision by An Bord Pleanala to give Iarnrod Eireann seven years to acquire the required lands comes because the government has suspended all work on the project.
The Irish Independent reports that this will mean that landowners will have difficulty selling or developing their properties until a decision is made on whether the €2bn project will go ahead.
Experts last night said that having the threat of a CPO hanging over a property meant it was effectively “unsellable”.
“It would certainly frighten off any investors,” a spokesman for Hooke & MacDonald told the Independent.
“The CPO would make them unsellable. If I was in someone’s shoes and noticed that the property was going to be adversely affected, I would shy away from it and I think lending institutions would as well.”
The DART Underground is a proposed 7.6km underground railway line running from the CIE Railway Works at Inchicore to East Wall. It would link with DART, commuter services, inter-city trains, Luas and the proposed Metro North.
Five underground stations would be built at Heuston, Christchurch, St Stephen’s Green, Pearse Street and Docklands, with a sixth overground station at Inchicore.
Two tunnels would be constructed at a maximum depth of 35 metres below ground level. If built, it will increase the capacity of the Greater Dublin area’s rail service to 100 million passenger journeys a year, compared with 30 million at present.
Iarnrod Eireann said it was ready to go ahead with the project if funding was available.
The Dublin Chamber of Commerce added it was an “important step” in addressing the transport needs of the capital.
However, the government will not review the project until 2015 to see if funding is available to go ahead. Property owners said the uncertainty meant they could do nothing with their sites until then.
Director of the Sherling Group in Inchicore, Frank Moore, said it could not continue in business if its lands were taken. Up to one-third of its site is subject to a CPO.