Sunday 21 December 2008

Blow for Carroll as second major office development plan for Docklands rejected

Developer Liam Carroll has been refused planning permission for a huge office-led development in East Wall in Dublin, which would have contained more than 45 per cent of the entire office lettings in the whole of Dublin this year.

Dublin City Council has told Carroll that his plan has "poor architectural quality, insufficient urban design and strategic rationale" and would "have a materially negative visual impact" on the area.

The developer wanted to develop more than 82,000 square metres of office space on the 5.5 acre site between East Road and Merchants Square.

The plan was refused on three grounds including being contrary to its zoning and that it "would injure the residential amenities of the area" and "set an undesirable precedent for similar type development in the area".

As well as the offices, Carroll planned to develop a hotel, gym and pool, healthcare centre, a café and restaurant and a shop on the site. The four buildings would have been up to 17 storeys high and Carroll owns the site through a company called JP Ryan & Sons.

Separately, the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) has written to Dublin City Council in relation to Carroll's office building on North Wall Quay that is currently in legal limbo. Rival developer Sean Dunne has applied to have the building demolished after the Commercial Court ruled that the DDDA acted outside its planning powers in approving the development. Carroll subsequently applied to Dublin City Council to retain the work already undertaken and to complete the building.

The DDDA says the existing structure in its current state "is physically unsatisfactory and represents unsustainable development in its current form". It acknowledges that the building is inconsistent with the planning scheme but argues "this may be addressed by providing residential development on adjoining lands in the applicant's ownership".

"The Authority would request Dublin City Council to ask the applicant to demonstrate compliance with the [planning scheme] over the applicant's landholding and to subsequently condition the development accordingly.

The imposition of such a condition would render the proposed development reasonably consistent with the planning scheme in this circumstance and the authority would therefore support a positive recommendation in respect of this retention application," it wrote.

Sean Dunne's company North Wall Quay Property Development has told the council that it will be "adversely affected" by the development and states its belief that "the application suffers from a serious deficit of accurate information". It also argued the application was invalid because under the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

Sunday Tribune

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