Friday 25 January 2008

An Taisce appeals Mansfield's centre

An Taisce has appealed a decision by South Dublin County Council to grant permission to Jim Mansfield's HSS Developments to retain and complete a partially constructed convention centre at his Citywest hotel complex in Saggart, Co Dublin.

An Taisce says Mansfield's proposal does not address the grounds of two previous decisions to refuse planning permission for the development by An Bord Pleanála.

In its appeal letter to the planning board, An Taisce says the Citywest site is not identified as a location for a major convention centre in the National Spatial Strategy for Ireland 2002, the National Development Plan 2007-2013 or the Strategic Planning Guidelines for the greater Dublin area.

It refers to a submission by the National Roads Authority which says the proposal has the potential "to have a negative effect on the operation/capacity of the N7".

An Taisce says it does not consider that Mansfield's company has adequately addressed or resolved this concern and says, notwithstanding the proposed Luas extension to Citywest, it "has failed to put forward an adequate mobility strategy to obviate traffic congestion and unsustainable car dependence on the site".

Another concern is that the development will have an impact on nearby Tassagart House, a protected structure.

Last April Mansfield scaled back his plans to a 4,000-capacity convention centre at a cost of €70 million to €90 million covering 7,500sq m (80,729sq ft).

This came almost a year after An Bord Pleanála refused him permission to build a significantly larger, 6,000-capacity conference facility following appeals by An Taisce, the Heritage Body, and businessman Harry Crosbie, who runs the Point.

Mansfield had previously built a steel-frame structure for the building without permission. In 2004 his company was fined €1,750 and ordered to pay costs of almost €30,000 to the council after Tallaght District Court found it had failed to comply with an enforcement order by the council to stop work on the centre.

An Bord Pleanála subsequently overturned the original planning permission.

However, a subsequent vote by councillors backing completion of the centre paved the way for Mansfield to submit another planning application to continue and retain the development.

The Irish Times

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