An Taisce has called on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to make Dalkey an architectural conservation area, following a decision by An Bord Pleanála to approve the demolition of a historic building on its main street.
The Dalkey tram yard, in the centre of Dalkey village on Castle Street, will be replaced with a three-storey structure containing 20 apartments and a retail unit.
The yard and its four tram sheds date back to the late 19th century and housed Dublin's first electric tram, which began running in May 1896. It is the last remaining tram yard in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area and is next to the 18th century Queen's pub, a protected structure, and close to Dalkey Castle. Dalkey village is the county's only heritage town and is designated by Dúchas, the Irish heritage service, as a "zone of archaeological potential".
An Bord Pleanála approved the development, from J & P Monaghan and R Shiels, despite a recommendation from its inspector that it be rejected. Boundary walls are also to be retained as part of the permission and a photographic record is to be taken of the tram sheds before they are demolished. The original wrought-iron gates are also to be retained, but will be welded in an open position as they will not fit the widened entrance.
An Bord Pleanála attached 24 conditions to its planning approval, including the reduction of the number of apartments from 23 to 20, and the retention of the cobblestones and tramline within the yard, which are protected structures.
Maireád Mehigan, chairwoman of the Dún Laoghaire An Taisce Association, said the planning board's decision was a major disappointment.
"An Bord Pleanála did not address any of its planning concerns," she said.
If the village was designated an Architectural Conservation Area, it would have extra protection under planning laws and this would not have been approved."
© 2007 The Irish Times