THE Dublin skyline was going to change with a trend towards tall buildings, the planning appeal against the refusal for a 37-storey Ballsbridge development proposed by property magnate Seán Dunne was told yesterday.
Landscape architect Thomas Burns said Ballsbridge was already home to some significant mid-rise developments and permission was recently granted for high-rise developments, including: Quay Lodge, Grand Canal Quay — 16 storey tower; Military Road, Kilmainham — 32-storey tower; U2 tower, Sir John Rogerson Quay — 35-storey tower and the Watch Tower, Point Village — 39-storey tower.
He said the removal of existing trees would be perceived as a significant negative impact, but in mitigation, the development proposed a significant landscape scheme including the replanting of nearly three times as many semi-mature trees. Mr Burns added that the development would not adversely alter the distinctive urban character of existing properties.
Mr Dunne paid €379 million for the site in 2005. The city council granted planning permission for the greater part of the development last March, but rejected the landmark 37-storey centrepiece on grounds of excessive heights.
While the council stood over its decision yesterday acting deputy planning official for the council Mary Conway said that it was their opinion that the planning application is compliant with the Dublin City development and the National Development plan.
She said the planning authority also consider that the proposal is of exceptional architectural and urban design quality, which will help increase Dublin’s competitive edge, economically, culturally and socially, as well as providing an appropriate response to the scale and character of the area.
The council also produced evidence at the hearing that the site was not on a floodplain and despite an extremely high tide on February 1, 2002, the site had not been flooded.
The oral hearing by an Bord Pleanála continues today. The planning appeal hearing is in its second week and is expected to continue into next week.