HOUSEBUILDER Eugene Larkin will be praying for the divine intervention of Saint Charles Houben now that An Bord Pleanála has refused his Twinlight Construction company planning permission for two residential developments alongside Mount Argus in Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6. The saint is central to Mount Argus where his remains were reinterred by the Passionist order before his canonisation in 2007.
Larkin, who paid around €20 million for the monastery and 5.7 acres at Mount Argus early in 2008, had earlier secured permission from Dublin City Council planners for 211 apartments to the rear of the church.
A second application, also rejected by the board, had sought approval to demolish part of the monastery, refurbishment of the remaining parts of the period building and the provision of 55 apartments in a four-storey block as well as seven townhouses.
The objectors included the Mount Argus Road and Church Park Residents Association which described the development as “high handed and insensitive” to the conservation needs of the church and monastery. The group also pointed out that, while the monastery was not protected, it is inseparable from the church.
One of the inspectors from the planning appeals board complained that Twinlight’s plan to increase the culverting of the River Poddle running through the site would “have a negative impact on the amenity value and character of the watercourse”. An odd observation given that the Poddle is presently no more than a dirty, overgrown ditch.
The board’s decision was signed off by Mary Bryan, a qualified architect and a former chairperson of the Irish Georgian Society.