Sunday 17 August 2008

Hearing into Dunne high-rise complex in Ballsbridge to be held next month

A BORD Pleanála public hearing into developer Seán Dunne’s controversial plans for a high-rise complex, including a 37-storey tower, on the site of the former Jurys and Berkeley Court hotels in Ballsbridge, Dublin, will be held next month.

The planning board received a record 127 appeals in relation to the planning application.

While several local residents and residents’ groups have been vocal in their opposition to the development, 87 of the appeals are in favour of the development.

This unprecedented number of appeals in favour of a planning application, includes one from Mr Dunne who is calling on the board to reinstate the 37-storey tower which was not granted permission by Dublin City Council.

The council last March granted permission for the bulk of the development, including an 18-storey tower, 294 apartments, a 232-bedroom hotel, a shopping centre, an embassy building, and a cultural centre, but rejected the 37-storey building on the grounds of excessive height.

Despite the strong support for the project, Mr Dunne will face considerable opposition to his attempts to have the tower passed, and runs the risk of having the entire development rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

The Department of the Environment, whose views were sought by the board, said the development would be “contrary to Dublin City Council’s policy to protect the architectural character of the area”.

Billionaire businessman Dermot Desmond, a resident of Ailesbury Road, has appealed against the development.

However, Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan, who is cultural adviser for the project, and public relations consultant Bill O’Herlihy have made submissions supporting the scheme.

The hearing will begin in Croke Park on September 9th, and is expected to last at least a week.

The Irish Times

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