Wednesday, 26 December 2007

An Taisce hits out at council over library proposal

A local authority has been accused of neglecting its responsibility as a custodian of heritage after unveiling plans to build the biggest public library in the country.

An Taisce said Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council will alter the heart of Dun Laoghaire if it goes ahead with a number of controversial developments.

They include a €35m library and a high-rise apartment development on the grounds of a landmark hotel. The coastal suburb is recognised in the County Development Plan for having the highest concentration of protected structures outside Dublin city.

A spokesperson for An Taisce in Dun Laoghaire said that the new library building would be "a massive, contemporary, structure" in a prominent position in the town. She said it would have a major impact on the architectural environment into which it was being placed.

The environmental protection lobby group has already raised concerns about a proposal to build 107 apartments over retail outlets at the Royal Marine Hotel.

It claims it will lead to the loss of open space and views of protected structures.

"The council insists that it is committed to ensuring that this heritage plays its part in the future of sustainable development of the county," said Mairead Mehigan of An Taisce, Dun Laoghaire. "However, its recent track record does not support this statement."

However, the council's director of Culture, Community Development and Amenities Charles MacNamara said: "Not only will this project offer the public a state-of-the-art facility, but it will offer unrivalled access to arts, culture and research facilities."

Anne-Marie Walsh
Irish Independent

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