Thursday 23 April 2009

Carlton site plan would be a 'gross overdevelopment'

THE PROPOSED redevelopment of the Carlton cinema site in Dublin city centre would constitute gross overdevelopment and could have an adverse impact on many protected structures, An Bord Pleanála has been told.

The appeal hearing on the project heard that the €1.25 billion scheme would be highly obtrusive and could damage the visual amenity of the area.

Orlagh Cawley, on behalf of the National Graves Association, said the design of the project marks a stark contrast to the prevailing building heights and densities.

Ms Cawley said the plan provides for a potential “irreversible impact” on the architecture of Moore Street and O’Connell Street and could result in the complete removal of part of Dublin’s historical streetscape, Moore Lane and Henry Place. “The impact of the proposed development will constitute gross overdevelopment and over-intensification” she said.

The proposed redevelopment of the 5.5 acre site includes a four-storey “park in the sky”, a branch of British department store John Lewis, almost 100 shops, 64 apartments, 17 restaurants, a theatre space and 2,868sq m of offices.

The area would include three new public squares, two new streets, and would involve the relocation of two protected structures: the 19th-century O’Connell Hall, and the facade of the former Carlton cinema. Developers Chartered Land say the scheme would make a “positive and powerful contribution to the city”.

Damien Cassidy of the National Heritage and Conservation Group said the developers clearly consider the Carlton site to be a brownfield building site devoid of any architectural merit, historic and cultural importance.

Mr Cassidy said the inclusion of the national monument on Moore Street would “destroy the authenticity” of the surrender headquarters of the 1916 volunteers. Mr Cassidy said that the development of the nearby Arnotts site meant there would be no shortage of retail space in the area and that there was already an abundance of vacant office space.

Among third-party appellants opposed to the scheme were Treasury Holdings, An Taisce and the families of the signatories of the Proclamation of Independence. The hearing continues today.

Irish Times

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