Sunday 22 June 2008

Council to scale back plans for Mountjoy site

DUBLIN CITY Council is proposing to scale back its plans for the Mountjoy Prison site, following a submission from site owners the Office of Public Works (OPW) that the range of community facilities was too ambitious.

The council had initially hoped to see two schools, a library, an arts theatre, a museum and a hall for a local scout troop developed when the current prisons are decommissioned.

But in its submission on the council’s Phibsboro Area Plan – which incorporates the Mountjoy site – the OPW claimed the number of community facilities would represent a serious inequality in the grouping of facilities in the Phibsboro area.

The OPW queried the need for the scout hall and new schools and expressed concern for the operation, management and viability of the flagship arts space. The State agency also questioned a proposed public plaza which it said was too close to a busy road, and submitted that a cap on the height of buildings at existing levels be removed.

The OPW said it wanted buildings in the order of six to 12 storeys to be allowed.

Council planners have now amended their recommendations for the prison site, accepting there may not be such a need for schools in the area. But they have insisted that current building heights are appropriate, and confirmed the objective of a plaza.

Dublin city councillors will have an opportunity to vote on the submissions in July.

However, criticism of the OPW submission has already come from former councillor Senator Pascal Donohoe, who said the city council “must hold firm” and ensure that appropriate design, community facilities, and “respect for the local area are contained in the plan for the Mountjoy site and the entire Phibsboro area”.

Irish Times

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