Wednesday 18 February 2009

Developer claims embassy requirement not justified

A DEVELOPER who paid €8.5 million for a building on Dublin’s Ailesbury Road has claimed before the High Court there is no justification for a planning requirement that it can only be used as an embassy.

Derek Quinlan bought the former Mexican embassy building at Ailesbury Road in October 2007 and shortly afterwards applied to Dublin City Council for permission to refurbish and extend the existing offices in the premises.

He sought permission to, among other matters, remove a free-standing pergola and build a single-storey extension at the rear of the building. Mr Quinlan intended to use the premises as offices and the premises represented “a very significant investment” by him, including €1.67 million for the refurbishment works.

However, the council indicated it would only grant permission subject to the use of the entire premises “solely for use as an embassy” as defined in the 2005-2011 city development plan.

The building is a protected structure which was used as an embassy by Mexico and previously by Germany since 1964.

The council gave its reason as to control development, protect the amenities of the residential conservation area as zoned in the development plan and facilitate the zoning objectives of that plan.

Mr Quinlan appealed to An Bord Pleanála but its ruling also required the embassy condition be included. On September 9th last, the council granted him permission subject to the disputed condition. In his High Court proceedings against the board and the council, Mr Quinlan wants orders quashing the disputed condition.

Eamon Galligan SC, for Mr Quinlan, said while the building had been the Mexican embassy until 1995, it had also been used as offices before it was purchased by Mr Quinlan. Mr Galligan said the council had relied on its development plan to impose this condition but there was no provision in the plan justifying such a condition.

Irish Times

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