Monday 29 September 2008

Offices 'would not impact on residential amenity'

THE INCLUSION of almost 28,000sq m of offices on the site of the former Jurys and Berkeley Court hotels in Ballsbridge would have no impact on the residential amenity of the area, a public hearing of An Bord Pleanála has been told.

Kieran Kennedy, a planning consultant for developer Seán Dunne, told the hearing on the proposed development that the offices do not materially contravene the city development plan.

Dublin City Council earlier this year refused permission for the office element of Mr Dunne's €1.5 billion development because they contravened the zoning objective of the site which was to "protect, provide and improve residential amenity".

John Gallagher SC, cross-examining Mr Kennedy on behalf of the council, asked if he accepted that office use was "not either permissible or open for consideration" on the site.

Mr Kennedy of RPS Group planning consultants agreed that office use was not specifically mentioned in the council zoning, but claimed that it was "implied" because embassy use and media use were permitted. "These are de facto office uses . . . an embassy is an office," he said.

In addition to offices, Mr Dunne is seeking permission for a 15-storey embassy building that would also include "media" floors.

Under the development plan a material contravention involved a "major or significant departure from the fundamental principles of the plan", Mr Kennedy said.

The area was "full of offices" and the site was already a mixed-use site rather than a residential site, he said.

"Offices are not in any sense going to fundamentally undermine residential amenity," he said. "It could not in any way be a material contravention of the plan."

Mr Dunne, who paid €450 million for the seven-acre site three years ago is seeking to build a mixed-use development of apartments, offices, retail and a cultural centre, which includes a 37-storey tower.

The Irish Times

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