Monday 12 October 2009

Altering library entrance would 'affect historic streetscape'

An Bord Pleanala has ruled that proposals to alter the entrance to Sligo County Library at Stephen Street would adversely affect the historic streetscape and significantly damage the architectural heritage of the area.

The Planning Appeals Board overturned Sligo Borough Council's decision to grant planning permission to Sligo County Council for the development.

The Borough Council's decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanala by Patricia Gardiner, 16 Martin savage Terrace, Sligo.

An inspector's report on the appeal recommended that An Bord Pleanala grant conditional permission but this was rejected by the Board.

The proposed development involved increasing the width of the existing gated entrance to the east of the site to accommodate a vehicular entrance in lieu of the existing vehicular entrance to the west side, and that the existing gate to the west would accommodate pedestrians only.

It also included the provision of dropped kerbs to the foothpath adjacent to the new vehicular entrance and the provision of a new tarmac driveway and passing bay to access the car park at the rear of the Library.

In a report on the appeal, An Bord Pleanala inspector, John Bird, said he considered the proposals put forward and as modified by the Planning Authority would lead to an improvement in pedestrian and traffic movement and safety, would have minimal impact on the physical structure of the arch, gates, railings and wall, and would be visually acceptable. He recommended that permission be granted for the development.

Ruling to refuse permission, An Bord Pleanala said it was considered that the interventions proposed in relation to the historical entrance, front railings and green area beside the protected structure would materially and adversely affect the character, integrity and setting of the proposed structure and the historic streetscape of Stephen Street.

In deciding not to accept the inspector's recommendation to grant permission, the Board disagreed with the inspector that the proposal to interfere with the historic streetscape and structures in order to facilitate vehicular access and parking was to be 'welcomed in principle'

It considered that the proposed interventions in relation to the entrance, railings and green area would significantly damage the architectural heritage of the area and would thus be unacceptable in terms of local and national policies.

The Board also considered that the conditions recommended by the inspector would not adequately address his conerns in relation to certain aspects of the proposals, for example, in relation to the railings.

Irish Independent

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