Community gain


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Inchicore on Track's presentation at the ABP Oral Hearing in March 2011, in relation to the Dart Underground coming Above ground in Inchicore. Chapter 7: Community Gain & Corporate Social Responsibility

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Community gain

  1. 1. A good start is half the work <ul><li>The case for Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Gain </li></ul>
  2. 2. My name is Niall O Baoill – a resident with a young family from 15 North Terrace in the Inchicore Railway Estate. For the past two years a large part of my time has been dedicated to investigating the nature of the DART Underground proposal for Inchicore - alongside hundreds of other residents - in a concerted effort to act in a strong, collective, civic minded manner and to bring a clear community response to the attention of all concerned parties – and in this particular instance - An Bord Pleanala By profession I am a community development worker, with extensive experience in enabling community participation in processes of urban planning and regeneration. For the past 12 years I have been centrally involved - at both executive and Board level - in the design and delivery of the Fatima Mansions Regeneration Project in the south west inner city of Dublin This project operated to a set of core values and principles that were arrived at between Dept. Environment / Dublin City Council / Local Community and Developers – and delivered through a PPP mechanism As such this project was unique in Ireland and set the benchmark for further collaborative approaches intent upon realising high quality planning processes and outcomes. The experience of this process of integrated planning between all interested parties has resulted in several publications, film and radio documentaries and exhibitions that have secured national and international recognition I refer to this particular experience of urban planning in Rialto only insofar as it adjoins Inchicore and is immediately relevant to the substance of our case for Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Gain
  3. 3. <ul><li>INTRODUCTION: </li></ul><ul><li>In this section of our Oral Submission today we aim to advance three areas of understanding and action: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Firstly, to foreground our general position with regard to the importance of new public transport infrastructure and ways in which we need to work together to safeguard the common good </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Secondly, to reprise and fine point our specific arguments with relation to Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Gain </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Finally, to make a set of particular proposals and requests to be attached as conditions to the Railway Order </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. It’s pretty clear that the mood of the the country – from streets and neighbourhoods to the levels of highest leadership – is to never again engage in poor planning or frenzied development . To leave the old ways behind. If there is any enlightenment to be gained from our national trauma it is that what will best replace the old failed ways must be practices and projects that will be exemplary, visionary, driven and delivered for common good and not sectional interest. The planned Dart Underground project is beginning its life in this new changed and more positive world. It will be one of the first and certainly one of the most high profile flagship developments that embraces this new commitment to deliver for common good and to achieve that with exemplary process and to excellent standards. The Inchicore Railway Residents Association applauds and supports the delivery of new public transport infrastructure and especially – given our strong and proud identity as a traditional railway community – a modern and exciting rail-based system. “ Ireland’s recent past has taught us many hard lessons. The present is a different country. The future must be a better one.
  5. 5. <ul><li>In fact, there’s a perfect storm of interests and aptness when you view the Dart Underground proposal as a synchronicity of four vital values. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Firstly , the needs of Dublin city (and Ireland) for a more integrated urban rail network. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Two , the obvious appropriateness of positoning a crucial portion of a modern rail system near or within the stone walls of a most historic and unique railway enclave. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Three , that local residents have demonstrated model citizenship by working tens of thousands of hours in constructive visioning and engagement with Irish Rail and place the highest value on both enlightened public transport solutions and the protection and enhancement of their neighbourhood. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And four , that decision makers, policy makers and planners will surely never again fall back into shoddy practice and unthought-through solutions . </li></ul></ul></ul>Given all that, it would be a great shame if the sycnchronicity of these four vital values – in effect, a wonderful and welcome opportunity of delivering an enlightened transport infracture for the area and city – were to be corrupted or destroyed by failing to address and find enlightened solutions for the well considered, measured but absolutely key issues we bring to your urgent attention in this submission.
  6. 6. The Inchicore Railway Residents Association is a dedicated, open-minded, highly active and highly effective representative body. Enlightened development needs enlightened planning by professionals. Enlightened planning needs enlightened participation by citizens. Enlightened participation means open, constructive and real engagement by all sides. We have and will continue to provide this. At this key democratic opportunity, we look to An Bord Pleanala, as the guarantor of common good in planning terms, to give this democratic request real teeth and meaning . And to ensure that our public good concerns and our desire to protect and enhance our historic and heritage-rich neighbourhood for residents, the city and Ireland are addressed with real substance. If that happens, the future will indeed be a brighter one for all in every sense. A new, positive way of planning well and inclusively will have been flagshipped and proven successful”. Foreword to INCHICORE ON TRACK DART Underground Railway Order Application to An Bord Pleanala August 2010
  7. 7. What has just been read, as stated earlier, are extracts from a submission made to ABP in the Summer of 2010 What has become increasingly obvious since then – in the intervening months of social / political hiatus in our country – is that there is now a compelling case for new, innovative and well informed approaches to the planning and delivery of major public projects and that it is equally clear that An Bord Pleanala have a pivotal role to play in these matters . The challenge now is to help evolve practical measures that will enable a greater creative relationship between citizens, communities and those bodies charged with the design and delivery of a better City. The views and proposals we present herafter are proffered in that spirit
  8. 8. Community Gain It is important to recognise that the concept of Community Gain is poorly developed in Ireland as are strong, functioning models of Corporate Social Responsibility Given this national inadequacy, what sometimes passes for practise in these interrelated areas are a poor pastiche of what many other countries robustly present and exercise in a fully committed manner Our particular experience in looking to advance a properly planned, consultative and progressive relationship to Irish Rail with regard to the proposed DART Underground is a clear case in hand. Sadly, it has given rise to an impasse between the community and the applicant that to our view constitutes a serious systems failure This unwarranted situation is one we would now like to have addressed and improved upon through An Bord Pleanala’s active consideration of the common sense proposals gathered within this section of our oral submission. In opening out this proposition we would like to advance three points of arguments as to the necessity of Irish Rail addressing its Corporate Social Responsibilities through appropriate Community Gain measures
  9. 9. Firstly The unique history of the Inchicore Works / Estate and inextricable relationship between the community of the Railway Estate and CIE/ Irish Rail implies that there should be a shared and coherent concept of community gain The facts of the situation include; That the Estate / Works were designed as a functioning whole – as clearly outlined in earlier presentations That an intimate, symbiotic and adaptive relationship has evolved over 150 years between the various parties – company, workers / residents – that requires due recognition and care into the future That the area is an important repository of railway heritage, lived traditions and artefacts of national / international significance and is deserving of a suitable form of preservation These set of facts underpins our assertion that the current DART and related development proposals therefore clearly present an opportunity for Irish Rail and local estate residents to honour, make contemporary and transformative the unique social, economic and cultural heritage of the area through carefully conceived community gain measures
  10. 10. <ul><li>Secondly </li></ul><ul><li>There is the considerable reality of the </li></ul><ul><li>immediate and cumulative impacts on the </li></ul><ul><li>area that when aligned to the long term </li></ul><ul><li>implications of a new Railway Station and </li></ul><ul><li>related developments -to include further </li></ul><ul><li>proposed transport infrastructure and </li></ul><ul><li>residential / retail development – present a </li></ul><ul><li>compelling case for community gain </li></ul><ul><li>measures that are aimed at safeguarding a </li></ul><ul><li>sustainable environment for existing and </li></ul><ul><li>any future residents and those working </li></ul><ul><li>within the area </li></ul><ul><li>These felt and anticipated impacts include: </li></ul><ul><li>The extent of community shock and </li></ul><ul><li>disillusionment with the undue haste and </li></ul><ul><li>extent of poor quality planning involved in </li></ul><ul><li>preparing the Railway Order / EIS </li></ul>The degree to which the community was required to required to organise, self resource and innovate in response to ad hoc and insubstantial consultation process with Irish Rail
  11. 11. The complete failure of the Future Development study incorporated in the Railway Order to acknowledge the intimate, integrated relationship of Works and Estate The inevitable environmental impacts over sustained period of years during proposed construction / operation of DART Underground and future proposed Luas line / stop The poor standard of existing community infrastructure and significant loss of amenity – both specific responsibilities of Irish Rail The extent of future development arising from DART– as outlined in the Murray O Laoire report appended to the Railway Order application – and the profound impacts these present to the existing community Again it is important to recognise that all of the impacts experienced to date by residents have been a source of considerable frustration as all were unnecessary and avoidable, whereas the realities pertaining to the latter three are equally profound and pressing matters worthy of a proper formal assessment and response
  12. 12. <ul><li>Finally </li></ul><ul><li>We note that An Bórd Pleanála does have precise powers with regard to the protection of local communities and persons affected by a Railway Order, and in respect of community gain, in that by s. 44(2) of the Transport (Railway Infrastructure) Act, as amended , the Railway Order the Board may: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(f) without prejudice to paragraph(g), contain such provisions as the Board thinks proper for the protection of the public generally, of local communities and of any person affected by the order, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(g) contain provisions requiring – </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(i) the construction or the financing in whole or in part, of the construction of a facility, or </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(ii) the provision or the financing in whole or in part, of the provision of a service </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In the area in which the railway works are to be constructed, being a facility or a service that, in the opinion of the Board, would constitute a gain to the community … </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. It is the view of the Inchicore Railway Estate Residents Association that, taken together, the three starting points of reference that we have outlined here today comprises a clear rationale and case for An Bord Pleanala to consider the nature of an appropriate response to the community position on community gain We specifically request that An Bord Pleanala – enabled through the aforementioned measure in the Railway Infrastructure Act – act on their right to protect the best interests of community. In doing so the Board would be taking a solid and progressive step towards evolving new and improved forms of public planning and project delivery We would further ask the Board to exercise these powers favourably towards the Railway Estate community in order to offset the many negative impacts – both already felt and anticipated into the future – of the proposed development in the event that a Railway Order is granted. It is our view that the absence of many useful precedents is no excuse when faced with the totality of what is involved in this case. Whereas the existence of enabling legislation and the good sense and innovative nature of what the community has proposed to advance with regard to Community Gain warrants a very serious focus by ABP
  14. 14. It is also worth stating upfront - lest there be a reductive view that community is acting in an opportunistic or selfish manner in this regard - that the Inchicore Railway Residents Association has over many years been involved in capacity building measures and consistent representations to Dublin City Council, looking to protect and enhance the community through a variety of collaborative measures This relationship has more recently been deepened through a series of executive meetings - convened in the Civic Offices and in the Sports and Social Club on the Railway Estate- in the months preceding the written submissions deadline for ABP in 2010 - between both Dublin City Council and the Community – in which agreement was sought and forthcoming for a joint working group to be established - under clear terms of reference – to advance a shared vision for the future of the Estate This development – referenced in the first instance to the new Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 - could we believe provide a very real forum aimed at establishing strong civic ideas of appropriate and shared benefits that could arise from a community gain package and we strongly urge ABP to recognise the validity of this type of coordinated and integrated approach to such matters
  15. 15. Beyond the basic rationale for Community Gain as outlined earlier and the evidence of the Residents Associations best efforts at advancing a collaborative approach to developing a sustainable community, there are 4 summary headings under which we are locating a set of specific views, ideas and propositions related to Community Gain
  16. 16. 1. Integrity of area infrastructure and identity As previously profiled and substantiated throughout this submission the Inchicore Railway Estate constitutes a unique residential area with many key features and characteristics worthy of protection and enhancement One of the core elements particular to the identity and functioning of the Estate and wider community since the mid 1880’s - and which continues to this day - is the centrality of Inchicore Sports and Social Club / Playing Fields and green areas located at the heart of the Estate
  17. 18. Regrettably CIE /Irish Rail has shown scant regard towards the overall integrity of the Estate, its interrelatedness to the Works and in recent times acted in a wholly indifferent way towards the maintenance and upkeep of those buildings, facilities and public areas that fall within their remit It is the community contention that a large corporate and social responsibility lies with CIE / Irish Rail to both safeguard and contribute financially towards the protection and enhancement of these vital facilities and services To that end we request that ABP – under the existing provision for community gain – make a clear requirement that the amenity development proposals detailed in 2 below be made an absolute condition of any prospective Railway Order
  18. 19. <ul><li>2 Amenity development proposals </li></ul><ul><li>All the existing community infrastructure is in poor repair as can be testified to in a number of recent audits and reports. There is an urgent need to safeguard – in particular – the Inchicore Sports and Social Club building which currently operates on a lease between the Club and CIE / Irish Rail </li></ul><ul><li>In recent years there has been a resurgence of community interest and support for what had become a somewhat neglected and under resourced facility </li></ul><ul><li>The community response in recent times has been such that a new and fully constituted Executive Committee has been formed, a recovery plan put in place and a membership drive established with a range of community programmes, social events and other services now in operation </li></ul><ul><li>As a community we feel it appropriate that CIE / Irish Rail undertake to fully engage with the Club and the community on the physical renewal of the Club buildings </li></ul>
  19. 21. It is equally the case that the playing fields, tennis courts adjoining the Social Club, its changing facilities, perimeter fencings and related hard surface areas – separately leased by CIE / Irish Rail – have despite their extraordinary potential been allowed to descend into a very poor state of repair and remains underutilised and a constant source of anxiety and regret within the community Remarkably the playing field area offer among other things, the only full size soccer pitch accessible to the public- that is uniquely enclosed - for virtually the whole of Dublin 8 and could if secured and imaginatively developed, become a hugely beneficial sporting amenity for the south west inner city, across various sporting codes, while also fulfilling particular needs within the local community It might be appropriate in this situation to look to bring this amenity into a public ownership arrangement with Dublin City Council through which a policy led approach to its design and operation could then be realised for the benefit of all
  20. 22. There are also a set of small but vital green areas and other spaces within the core of the Estate whose original functions have been ignored, left poorly maintained and / or been utilised for short term car parking functions by CIE / Irish Rail It is important that such lands be reconceived of in the context of a Master Plan for the area – ideally in conjunction with Dublin City Council – and that they be zoned / protected and upgraded in line with progressive notions of community gain related to a range of environmental advancement projects, the existing tradition of allotments, play facilities for children etc. In our written submission to ABP we requested that the Board consider the combined logic of these amenity proposals and look to appoint an expert – in the field of community planning and benefit - to ascertain the bone fides of such proposals and to advise on appropriate measures. It is a matter of record that this did not happen
  21. 23. <ul><li>3. Impacts and mitigations </li></ul><ul><li>The full extent of a DART Underground construction project impact on the landscape and integrity of the Estate requires a detailed and reassuring focus that is currently absent within the Railway Order / EIS application. </li></ul><ul><li>Any Railway Order – if issued and with whatever material changes are required by ABP – must ensure: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>That full and thorough audit be undertaken so as to assess the extent of likely impact </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>That there are clear measures and specifications particular to ameliorating such impacts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>That such measures be vouchsafed contractually and through an effective monitoring system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>ABP needs to be particularly sensitive to likely loss of amenity, damage to community infrastructure and look to ensure that the character and aesthetic of the Estate is maintained through a process of quality design – with due regard to appropriate choice of materials and standard of finish </li></ul>
  22. 24. It should also be appropriate that a Public Art measure specific to the Estate - in keeping with current State policy and guidelines - be established. Particularly so as this is an area of interest that the community has led out on in recent years in conjunction with both Dublin City Council and CIE / Irish Rail.
  23. 25. <ul><li>4. Necessity for an Area Master Plan and effective monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>There already exist a clear set of reasons why the imminence of a DART Underground project and station – with a further proposed Luas line / stop and future residential / retail development within the Estate /Works - requires the rigour and discipline of an area Master Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Any proposed development of this scale with its focus on the creation of a new transport hub adjoining a secluded residential area automatically and dramatically alters the character and ecology of the area. At present the community has no comfort or assurance to the contrary and there is therefore a high price attaching to the DART Underground for all people living within the Estate </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to note again that from the outset of its relationship to the DART project, the Inchicore Railway Residents Association and Inchicore On Track, has repeatedly requested of CIE /Irish Rail that a collaborative approach to planning be established but as previously noted, even in the drawing up of the EIS section on future development for the area, the community was effectively excluded </li></ul>
  24. 26. So even on the most human level, the request for an Area Master Plan to be developed is a long overdue matter and one that should be prioritised within any ABP deliberation of the terms under which a Railway Order might be issued It is the case as previously mentioned that Dublin City Council and it Executive is keenly aware of these circumstances. Several motions of support particular to the concerns of the area have been carried at City Council level in recent times and more significantly perhaps a joint Working Group comprised of DCC planners/area staff and residents with a direct reporting line to the City Planner and Assistant City Manager with particular responsibilities for the current Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 is now being put in place This Civic Alliance marks a clear commitment to looking at real, innovative and progressive notions of how the Inchicore Works / Estate area might be developed in a respectful and sustainable manner – the main tenets and actions of which are included in a document tabled in July of 2010 with Dublin City Council entitled On Developing a Community Vision, Engaging with the City and Negotiating a Sustainable Future for the Inchicore Railway Estate / Works
  25. 27. The existence of this disposition alone should provide ABP with a sufficient sense of the absolute seriousness and commitment with which the community has sought to be a player in its own future and that it is entirely correct that a condition of any Railway Order include an unambiguous directive with regard to CIE / Irish Rail participating fully in whatever is the most appropriate means by which an Area Master Plan is arrived at We therefore request that ABP carefully consider and correlate the role, functions and responsibilities of CIE / Irish Rail to that of Dublin City Council in order to assist the community in finding a realistic basis and practical means by which an Area Master Plan be drawn up and delivered A further measure related to the above and something that could easily be recognised as a community gain outcome that would profoundly benefit all parties - CIE / Irish Rail, City Council and local residents and adjoining communities – is our proposal that CIE / Irish Rail be required to fund a Feasibility Study to sensitively develop the area as a Railway Heritage Museum Site.
  26. 28. It is envisaged that such a Railway Heritage Museum Site would be aligned to nearby cultural attractions and facilities in the wider adjoining areas like IMMA, Kilmainham Jail, the National War Memorial Park and the Phoenix Park via a cycle / walkway while also link to a proposed allotment / city farm type facility on site within the Estate area This is a very specific request and one that is entirely consistent with a range of studies / reports and precedents – commissioned and actioned through the offices of State Tourist, Cultural bodies, Dublin City Council and a range of local environmental, heritage and enterprise organisations
  27. 29. In Conclusion Ultimately it is our strongly held belief that such an open, innovative approach to the DART and future developments – as characterised by the ideas contained in this Community Gain section - would help ensure momentum, engender enthusiastic support and endorsement locally and would reflect well on all the public bodies concerned Finally, any ABP ruling as to the community gain proposals will we believe need to be underpinned by clear structural, contracting and monitoring mechanisms An immediate proposal might be that CIE / Irish Rail agree to participate in an integrated approach to visioning the future of the Inchicore Works/ Estate – ideally through the Area Master Plan mechanism – as currently under consideration by DCC and local residents
  28. 30. Such a mechanism could, if activated with the imprimatur and / or requirement of ABP, be a hugely progressive step, entirely consistent with best practise guidelines nationally and within the EU A Master Plan process could confidently set about scoping and delivering a new model of collaborative planning in which the natural rights of a community are safeguarded while the role of the State is equally ennobled and enriched It is our considered view that the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 provides a unique and entirely appropriate framework within which to reference such an undertaking and it is to this crucial matter that we close our argument on Community Gain For without such a framework and strategic approach our community is left without recourse to real participation and so we conclude in the hope that ABP will see its way clearly towards championing such a necessary initiative For our concept of pursuing community gain is based on optimising community engagement, deepening notions of civil society and of regarding the common good as a core value worthy of constant representation and advocacy
  29. 31. We also believe we have upheld the highest standards of voluntary participation, open dialogue, campaign transparency and commitment to the public processes that have culminated in this Oral Hearing with An Bord Pleanala It is with some reasonable expectation therefore that we submit the following draft conditions - specifically related to Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Gain – and that we respectfully request be attached to any prospective Railway Order – see attached We submit these draft conditions mindful of the need to be specific but reluctant to be too prescriptive as in our experience all good planning processes and outcomes are generally arrived at through a real commitment to relationship building and negotiation Our thanks to the Inspector, the panel of experts and An Bord Pleanala staff for their time and courtesy in considering such matters now and in the future
  30. 32. We also believe we have upheld the highest standards of voluntary participation, open dialogue, campaign transparency and commitment to the public processes that have culminated in this Oral Hearing with An Bord Pleanala It is with some reasonable expectation therefore that we submit the following draft conditions - specifically related to Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Gain – and that we respectfully request be attached to any prospective Railway Order – see attached We submit these draft conditions mindful of the need to be specific but reluctant to be too prescriptive as in our experience all good planning processes and outcomes are generally arrived at through a real commitment to relationship building and negotiation Our thanks to the Inspector, the panel of experts and An Bord Pleanala staff for their time and courtesy in considering such matters now and in the future