Monday 9 November 2009

Desmond in fresh attack on Dunne's 'bland' D4

Leading Irish businessman Dermot Desmond has clashed again with developer Sean Dunne over his plan for the Jurys Ballsbridge site in Dublin 4, dubbing the design of the buildings proposed for the site "bland, uninteresting, typical of many nondescript and uninteresting buildings that lie unused and unlikely to be used throughout the city of Dublin".

Last month Dunne lodged an application for an apartment development on the site, which he acquired for €380m.

If approved, €300m will be spent on construction, with 450 full-time jobs created. The plan also includes shops, medical facilities and a hotel as well as restaurants and bars.

Desmond, who also opposed Dunne's first plan for the site, claims that as a result "the proposed development is in contravention" of the local authority's development plan.

"The site is still zoned to protect, provide and improve residential amenities," he wrote, claiming there are significant amounts of development on this site which are directly in contravention of that objective.

"This is a zoning that primarily intends this site to be developed for residential purposes and it is difficult to find any justification why the other range of uses are being proposed, having regard to the clear zoning provisions in the plan," he wrote.

A spokesman for Dunne's company Mountbrook did not return a call seeking comment last week.

"We cannot determine the future of our city based on the terrible mistakes of the past," Desmond later wrote in his four-page objection.

"We must identify how we can achieve good quality design in the broadest sense and use the planning process to achieve that end. It is for these reasons that I consider the development ought to be reconsidered because without doubt there is a better way to develop the site than that proposed in this application."

He wrote that "the buildings proposed are uninteresting and have little architectural merit. The open spaces are unusable and will be bereft of sunlight and will be cold and unattractive places which will be little used and of little benefit to the development or to the surrounding area."

He also believes "the development is premature pending a strategic detailed Local Area Plan to deal with this site and adjoining sites".

"In a time of economic recession it is all the more important that design be emphasised and the planners have a particular responsibility to ensure that the highest possible design be achieved because ultimately a city's status is defined primarily by the quality of its buildings," he wrote.

An Taisce meanwhile has raised a number of issues of "serious concern" in relation to the plan, particularly the retail element.

It also said the scale of development sought was inappropriate and that the height proposed was "grossly excessive".

A number of local residents have also objected to the plan.

Sunday Tribune

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