Wednesday 23 July 2008

Public hearing on Ballsbridge tower scheme begins

A BORD Pleanála public hearing on a proposed high-rise scheme for the site of the former veterinary college in Ballsbridge, Dublin, which adjoins the Jurys/Berkeley Court site owned by developer Seán Dunne, begins today.

Dublin City Council granted planning permission last February to Kintene Ltd for the redevelopment of the college site, which includes plans for a 15-storey tower, despite receiving almost 90 objections from the public to the proposal.

Local councillors had also 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 structure sought by Mr Dunne.

The Bord Pleanála hearing of 24 appeals against the council's decision, which will be held in the RDS from today, comes just days after the council said it was reviewing its high-rise strategy for the city, following an overwhelmingly negative response from the public.

The council, as the authority which originally gave permission for the college site, will be represented at the hearing, which is expected to last for at least a week.

However, it is more likely that its representatives will be defending the decision to approve the scheme, rather than reflecting any changed views in relation to high-rise buildings.

The 24 appellants are largely residents' associations, including: Ailesbury Road Residents' Association; the Shelbourne Road Residents' Group; and the Ringsend, Sandymount and Irishtown Environment Group.

An Taisce has also appealed, claiming the council contravened the city development plan by granting permission. It says the office and retail parts of the development are not allowed under current zoning rules and the 15-storey building would be "extremely imposing and would totally dominate the area".

Plans for the 40,000sq m site include shops, offices, an arts centre and 109 apartments.

The Irish Times

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