Billionaire businessman Dermot Desmond has objected to plans for the redevelopment of Liberty Hall in Dublin, saying it "proceeds from a complete failure to recognise that a building of such height cannot work at that location".
He said the submission by trade union SIPTU for a new building of up to 20 storeys in places used "cavalier language" that denied the reality that Liberty Hall fails as a design concept and as a building.
"The existing Liberty Hall is, without doubt, an uninspiring and ugly building – poorly conceived and utterly incongruous in its setting," Desmond wrote. "For the full duration of its existence it has been an all too evident reminder of an era when urban design values were under-appreciated within, if not completely absent from, the planning process." However, he said the new proposal would represent "gross over-development of this site" if it goes ahead.
Irish Life, meanwhile, said it had a "number of serious concerns" relating to the impact the development could have on its office at Beresford Court where Irish Life Investment Managers is based. "Irish Life would wish to support Siptu in the redevelopment of Liberty Hall, but cannot do so in this case because the proposal currently before the planning authority would have very severe impacts on its property and operations during the demolition and construction phase and will have long-term and severe impacts on the operation and value of its Beresford Court property," it told Dublin City Council. It said the plan to demolish Liberty Hall over 10 months was "exceptional", particularly given that Lansdowne Road stadium was demolished in three months.
The VHI has also raised concerns, saying the value of its headquarters on Abbey Street could be adversely affected by the proposal. It could create overshadowing and cause downdrafts it said, but added that it supported the redevelopment of Liberty Hall in principle but not as presently proposed.
An Taisce's heritage officer Ian Lumley said that the plan "would be a monstrous intrusion on the skyline of the city".