A CO LOUTH developer, whose plans for Dunleer have been thwarted three times by An Taisce appeals, is now appealing against a decision by Dublin City Council permitting the heritage body to continue holding functions at its Tailor’s Hall headquarters.
Tony Mallon, who is also chairman of the Dunleer community development board, made his appeal to An Bord Pleanála, claiming that the use of its basement for dancing and concerts would be “contrary to the proper planning and development of the area”.
Tailor’s Hall, on Back Lane off High Street, dates from 1706 and is the only surviving guild hall in the city. It has been the headquarters of An Taisce since the mid- 1980s and is regularly rented for functions, including weddings, parties and theatrical events.
However, it transpired that An Taisce had no planning permission for these uses of the stone-vaulted basement and had to seek retrospective approval to retain them “in order to regularise the status of the current community use of the building”.
Urging the council’s planners to refuse retention permission, Mr Mallon wrote: “The applicant has not adhered to the relevant procedures seeking variations to the building as set out under the Planning and Development Act 2000.”
Noting that Tailor’s Hall is in an archaeologically sensitive area, he said: “I would ask that the enforcement section of the council review this unauthorised development of a protected structure and deal [with it] accordingly.”
Under the terms of the council’s decision, An Taisce would have to pay more than €56,000 in development levies, an onerous imposition for a charitable trust which has been strapped for cash in recent years. This is being appealed.
In 2007 and 2008, Mr Mallon was refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála to develop a major residential scheme at Barn Road, Dunleer, on foot of appeals made by local An Taisce activist Gerry Crilly, a member of its national council.
Overturning favourable decisions by Louth County Council, the board ruled that the proposed schemes would “result in over-development of this land”, saying it was not satisfied that they would facilitate the reopening of Dunleer railway station.