Sunday, 28 January 2007

Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Tall Buildings Study

In addition to my being surpised at the exceptionally fast turnaround time by the consultants - Urban Initatives - on a study of such importance. It appears that a study which took just a few months to complete, is now being used to call into question the development of Carlisle Pier whose proposed redevelopment has been a much longer process. How this study could develop a conclusion such as this so fast is, in my view, worthy of review. This from Fiona Gartland in The Irish Times.

A proposed development on the Carlisle Pier in Dún Laoghaire could be ruled out if recommendations included in a study of tall buildings in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are adopted by councillors.

The Tall Buildings Study, commissioned by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, recommends tall buildings should not be developed in conservation areas or along the coastline. This would exclude the 10-storey Carlisle Pier development, selected by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, following public consultation and a tender process in 2004.

The pier development stalled in 2005 when the harbour company withdrew preferred bidder status from Urban Capital, the consortium chosen to develop the project. However, the harbour company has said that it is now in pre-planning discussions with the council in relation to the project.

The study, developed by planning consultants Urban Initiatives, recommended protection of "the unique skyline" and a general height of four storeys was recommended for Dún Laoghaire, with up to six storeys for exceptional landmark buildings.

In Sandyford, it recommended six-storey developments in central areas, with exceptional heights of 15 - 20 storeys, subject to certain conditions.

The study said that inappropriately planned tall buildings would seriously detract from a residential environment and would be especially harmful for listed buildings, conservation areas, and significant views.

Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council councillor Eugene Regan said that apart from the recommendations of the study, there are serious doubts that the proposed development for the Carlisle Pier actually complies with the requirements of the county's development plan.

"This is particularly the case in relation to the need for the development to incorporate uses that bring significant cultural, social, recreational and economic benefits to the town and that it should integrate with the immediate built environment," he said.

Richard Boyd Barrett, chairman of the Save Our Seafront campaign, said the study was "hugely significant" and a vindication and a result of the protests by groups against high-rise developments. It was also welcomed by the Combined Residents to Save Open Space group and by An Taisce.

A spokesman for Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company said that it could not comment since it had not seen the study nor had been advised about it.

The study will be on public display at Dún Laoghaire and Dundrum council offices until February 7th.

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