Monday 17 March 2008

Dunne puts rejected tower on display ahead of An Bord Pleanála appeal

DEVELOPER SEÁN Dunne's plans for the the Jurys and Berkeley Court sites in Ballsbridge have been put on public display in the former Berkeley Court Hotel in advance of his appeal to An Bord Pleanála in relation to the development.

Dublin City Council this week granted permission for six of the proposed eight blocks in the residential and commercial development, including an 18-storey apartment building on Shelbourne Road, but refused permission for a 37-storey tower.

While the plans were previously on display during the application process to the city council, this is the first time a scaled model of the controversial tower has been available for public scrutiny.

The omission of the tower results in a loss of 182 apartments. In addition to the removal of blocks from the scheme, three apartment blocks have been trimmed in height from 11 to nine storeys. Planners have approved 294 apartments, a 232-bedroom hotel, a shopping centre, an embassy building, cultural centre and a creche. Mr Dunne, however has decided to appeal the full original scheme to An Bord Pleanála. "We are convinced that our planning application is consistent with that vision for Dublin. Our initial analysis of the report encourages us in our decision to appeal to An Bord Pleanála which is not as constrained in adjudicating on the planning application."

It would be premature to say whether or not the development would go ahead if An Bord Pleanála did not grant the full application, Mr Dunne said.

"There is an economic equation to every development. We could get a result from An Bord Pleanála that would mean it didn't make any sense economically to develop, and in that case it would be unlikely to proceed in any form."

A purely residential complex might be the most financially viable option, Mr Dunne said, but it was "not in anyone's interest".

A small number of people went to see the plans yesterday. One local resident, Finbarr McGrath said he liked the scheme.

"The media coverage of this has been somewhat misleading as it largely ignores the fact that there's a big retail element. At the moment in Ballsbridge there's around 10 pubs, three restaurants and one shop."

The Irish Times

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