Tuesday 19 August 2008

Desmond turns sights on hotel in battle over high-rises

BILLIONAIRE businessman Dermot Desmond has launched another broadside against developers who plan to build high-rise buildings in the capital.

His latest target is Treasury Holdings, which plans to build a 152-metre hotel of 35 storeys in the Dublin Docklands.

It is the third appeal against a high-rise building submitted by Mr Desmond since the proposed developments sought planning approval.

He has also asked An Bord Pleanala to refuse permission for developer Sean Dunne's plans for a 37-storey block on the Jurys/Berkeley Court site in Ballsbridge, and objected to another plan by developer Ray Grehan for a 15-storey tower on the former UCD veterinary school site, describing it as an "incongruous spike".

The financier also accused Mr Grehan of being concerned with "the maximisation of profit". He levelled a similar charge at Mr Dunne, with a submission to An Bord Pleanala saying the design of the Ballsbridge scheme was "reflective of the need to maximise the commercial development of the site".


And, in a submission to Dublin City Council, Mr Desmond uses the same terminology to object to the development of a hotel beside the National Conference Centre at Spencer Dock.

He says the plan is "completely incongruous" -- a similar description in his appeal against plans by Glenkerrin Homes -- and warns against allowing "the desired financial return of any developer to be a valid planning consideration".

The submission claims that the planning application is out of context with the surrounding buildings on the river front which will be "dwarfed" and will impact on the IFSC.

"A building of this kind, if permitted, would explode all the good planning principles in the area," he says.

He notes that Dublin City Council is conducting a study on maximum permitted heights of buildings in the city, and says it would be "entirely premature" to grant planning permission until the study is complete.

"To permit this development in the absence of such a study would be to engage in an ad hoc approach to tall buildings and, of course, would undermine the planned approach to tall buildings and the identification of appropriate sites for their selection," he adds

The council is expected to decide this week if the Treasury scheme will be approved.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent


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