Monday 29 September 2008

Bord rejects extension to AIB's Bankcentre

AN OFFICE block proposed as the third phase of the AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 has been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála because it says it would constitute overdevelopment of the site.

AIB was looking to build a new eight-storey office block with 18,600sq m (200,210sq ft) of space which would have had access from Serpentine Avenue.

Five parties appealed the office block to the planning board including the Serpentine Consortium, a group of private individuals asssembled by the bank and its stockbroking arm Goodbody who bought part of the Bankcentre site three years ago for over €360 million as part of a sale and leasback deal.

The consortium, which owns four of the blocks developed in phase two of the Bankcentre, is saying in its appeal that the proposed block is too close to two of its blocks and would have a severe impact on their natural light.

It also said that a proposal to reduce the parking provision by 70 spaces is inappropriate given the scale of the development.

Dr Noel O'Connor and Elaine O'Connor, who live on Serpentine Avenue, said the proposal constituted a vast increase in plot size from the original 33,000sq m (355,210sq ft) to 88,000sq m (947,223sq ft) and would involve an over-reliance on the access from Serpentine Avenue "which is located in a dangerous position".

Among the concerns of the residents of Ballsbridge Court was that the development would impact on their residential amenity as a result of "loss of outlook from the apartment windows and balconies, loss of daylight and sunlight, and overlooking from office accommodation".

Ballsbridge Court is to the north of the appeal site and is made up of brown-brick five-storey apartment blocks.

It is the subject of a separate application seeking an increase in height from five to eight storeys. It is currently on appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

In its decision, An Bord Pleanála agreed that the office block would constitute overdevelopment of the site and would depreciate the value of two blocks in phase two at the Bankcentre and detract from their design quality and profile.

The board said the proposed phase three would impact on nearby property as a result of visual intrusion, overlooking and overshadowing.

The Irish Times

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