Wednesday 26 March 2008

Permission to develop Ballsbridge site to be appealed

THE REDEVELOPMENT of the former veterinary college in Ballsbridge, Dublin, which includes plans for a 15-storey apartment block, is the subject of more than 20 appeals to An Bord Pleanála.

Dublin City Council granted planning permission last February to developer Ray Grehan for the 40,000sq m complex of shops, offices, an arts centre and 109 apartments on the site adjoining the Jurys/Berkeley Court site owned by Seán Dunne.

Local councillors had recommended that the planners not grant permission for the development on the grounds of its height, although its tallest structure is less than half the height of the 37- storey tower sought by Mr Dunne.

Mr Dunne was last month granted permission for his development by the council but with the omission of the 37-storey building. He did secure permission for an 18-storey building on the site, but has decided to appeal the project in full to An Bord Pleanála.

Mr Grehan, however, was granted permission for his development in its entirety, and in this case it is mostly local residents and An Taisce who have appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Just under 90 objections were made to the city council against the plans, largely on the grounds that the 15-storey building, at more than 50 metres high, was out of proportion with the surrounding streetscape, and that the density of the site development was too great. The appeals follow similar lines. Although fewer appeals have been made, they are significant in number given that the cost of an appeal to the board is €200, compared with €20 to appeal to the council.

Local appellants to the board made their objections through residents' groups, including the Lansdowne and District Residents' Association and the Ailesbury Road Residents' Association.

In its appeal to the board, An Taisce claims the council contravened the city development plan by granting permission, in that the office and retail parts of the development are not allowed under current zoning rules. The 15-storey building would be "extremely imposing and would totally dominate the area", An Taisce said.

The development would have "seriously negative impacts" on Ballsbridge's architectural setting; residential amenities would be damaged; the public and private open spaces were inadequate; and the development would cause traffic safety problems.

An Bord Pleanála is due to deliver its decision on the appeal in July. While entirely separate to any appeal in relation to the neighbouring Jurys/Berkeley Court development, the decision is likely to be seen by locals as a marker of the board's attitude to tall buildings in the area. An Bord Pleanála is also likely to receive a large number of appeals against Mr Dunne's development in addition to his own appeal.

The Irish Times

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