Greystones Harbour: Sispar to deliver club houses if NAMA gives green light

Following a representation by Stephen Donnelly TD, NAMA has confirmed that it is considering Sispar’s business plan for an enhanced redevelopment of Greystones Harbour, to include development of the long-awaited club houses.

Sispar is currently committed to a limited redevelopment of the Harbour, which will not include the club houses. Last February, Sispar had submitted a business plan for a fuller redevelopment to NAMA, but had had no response, and had decided to go ahead with the more limited redevelopment instead.

However, following a recent intervention by Stephen Donnelly, NAMA has confirmed that it will respond to Sispar’s plan by the end of September.

Crucially, NAMA has said they will take the higher public value of the enhanced redevelopment into account, as well as improved local commercial opportunities, when deciding on the business plan.

Further, Sispar’s Paraic Keogh has confirmed to Stephen Donnelly that, should NAMA endorse their plan, they will implement it.

Stephen Donnelly said, “I welcome NAMA’s engagement on this issue, and Sispar’s commitment to deliver the club houses, and enhanced amenities, if NAMA gives the go-ahead.

“In the absence of a response from NAMA, the current proposal from Sispar is a welcome start, as it removes some of the hoardings, develops the primary care centre and opens up limited public space. However, the business plan submitted to NAMA in February has the additional advantage of including the full development of the southern pier, including the range of clubhouse facilities, wider public access and the removal of all barriers. This would be of far greater value to the harbour users, to the public and to the business community.

“NAMA’s response time in dealing with this application has been disappointing. I raised the issue with NAMA chairman, Frank Daly, earlier in the year at a meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Based on this conversation, I wrote to NAMA recently, to look for a timetable for the decision and also to ensure that they were aware of the significant additional public value of the southern end of the pier being fully developed.

“Crucially, NAMA has said that arguments I made about the greater public value of the extra facilities will be taken into account. NAMA has now said it is considering Sispar’s business plan, and that it will revert to Sispar during September.”

The Harbour Development is a public-private partnership between Sispar and Wicklow County Council. Sispar took a loan out to develop the site, and this loan has since been acquired by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

In February 2011, Sispar submitted a business plan to NAMA seeking the release of funding in order to complete a public-amenity development at the southern end of the harbour. This was intended to include the provision of long-planned club houses, a primary care centre, and open spaces.

In the absence of any decision by NAMA on this business plan, Sispar decided to go ahead with a more limited version of this development, comprising a primary care centre, the fencing-off of an area for the clubs (without providing the actual club houses), and a smaller green area (as well as other minor improvements).

Following representations by Stephen Donnelly TD, NAMA’s Head of Operations, John Hamill confirmed “that the opinions you express about the public value and local commercial opportunities that the development could produce have been duly noted by the NAMA CEO and senior management”.