Tuesday 20 November 2012

Bord Pleanala saves Liberty Hall from the wrecking ball

PLANS by the country's big-gest trade union, SIPTU, to demolish and redevelop Liberty Hall have been rejected.
An Bord Pleanala has refused permission to demolish the building and replace it with a 23-storey mixed-use development which would be 93 metres tall – 30 metres taller than the existing structure.
And the planning appeals board also appears to have ruled out a further application to develop the site.
In a unanimous decision, it said it did not agree demolishing the structure was "justified".
One of the capital's most polarising buildings, Liberty Hall was designed by Desmond Rea O'Kelly and completed in 1965 on a site which has links to the 1916 Rising and the Lockout.
It was the country's first skyscraper, and received plaudits at the time including being commended by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Gold Medal awards.
It has since become dilapidated and unsuitable for modern office requirements, which prompted SIPTU to announce plans to redevelop it in 2006.
Dublin City Council granted planning permission last year for a new building, to include offices, a public heritage centre, cafe, theatre and a "skydeck" viewing facility which would provide views across the city.
However, the decision was appealed by An Taisce, Irish LifeAssurance and others, with planning inspector Mary Crowley recommending refusal.
In its ruling, the board said the site was of "national historic and social significance", and that it was a structure of "primary importance".
"Notwithstanding the quality of the architectural design, it is considered that the scale and, in particular, the height of the development as proposed, would be unacceptably dominant in the city," it ruled.
"It would be visually intrusive in the streetscape and riverscape and would seriously injure the visual amenities of the city and its skyline."
The proposed development would also "seriously detract" from the Custom House, and would "intrude" on other important views across the city.
SIPTU said it was "dis-appointed" with the decision.
"The union, our architects and professional advisers have put five years' hard work into this project including an enormous amount of consultation with Dublin City Council, our members and other key stakeholders including the local community," general secretary Joe O'Flynn said.
"Given that the city council saw fit earlier this year to grant us planning permission for the redevelopment of Liberty Hall, we are extremely disappointed that this decision has now been overturned by An Bord Pleanala."
Paul Melia
Read the article @ Irish Independent

Howth gate decision angers hillwalkers

The erection of a gate on a traditional walkers’ pathway on Howth Head is being challenged by local people.
Regular walkers in the area are angry at a decision by Fingal County Council not to take action over the matter.
Members of the Howth Pathways group have formally asked the council to reconsider its decision that the newly erected gate, 170m from Heather Cottage on East Mountain, is an exempt development.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Life on a wasteland of derelict blocks fallen foul of downturn

It is 15 months since permission for the O’Devaney Gardens project was granted
On the side of every flat block and on corners throughout the estate, there are signs advertising the O’Devaney Gardens regeneration project. At this stage, they are an affront to the remaining residents.
It is almost nine years since the redevelopment proposals were put forward; just under seven since the then housing minister Noel Ahern confirmed the plans for a €180 million regeneration as a public-private partnership (PPP). Dublin City Council now says there is no funding for the project, which has been put on hold.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Housing plans for O'Devaney shelved

The redevelopment of one of Dublin’s largest and most notorious council flat complexes has been put on hold because of a failure to secure finance for the scheme.
Dublin City Council says it has been unable to secure funding to go ahead with the regeneration of O’Devaney Gardens, despite having secured planning permission more than a year ago.
The 1950s flat complex was one of five social housing schemes in the city to have been developed under a public-private partnership between developer Bernard McNamara and the council.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

The bigger the better no longer holds sway

An Bord Pleanála’s unanimous decision to refuse planning permission for the replacement of Liberty Hall with a much taller and bulkier tower, coming after its politically shocking refusal for the Mater children’s hospital, marks the end of a high-rise mania in Dublin.
The main reason given in both cases was essentially the same – that the height and bulk of these proposals would have a negative effect on the city’s skyline, which (as the board noted) Dublin City Council’s own development plan “seeks to protect and enhance”.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Reinventing Dublin

If there is one thread in the public reaction to our Reinventing Dublin series, it is that people actually like Ireland’s capital and want it to be a better place.
Whether it can aim to be “world class” – as city manager John Tierney says it should – is probably a chimera, given its relatively small scale. Until recently, the view prevalent among our city planners was that high-rise buildings were needed to put it on the map, as it were. But this has been repeatedly rebuffed by An Bord Pleanála, most recently in its decision to refuse planning permission for the tall and bulky building proposed to replace Liberty Hall. If Dublin is to secure world heritage site status for its Georgian core, it needs to protect the skyline of the city against such visual intrusions.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Liberty Hall redevelopment rejected

Plans by trade union Siptu to demolish and redevelop Liberty Hall in Dublin have been rejected by the planning appeals authority.
An Bord Pleanála said the the new complex would be “unacceptably dominant” in the city and “visually intrusive in the streetscape and riverscape”.
The authority was also of the view the proposal would “seriously injure the visual amenities of the city and its skyline”.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Council may challenge decision on Adare bypass

LIMERICK County Council has not ruled out seeking a judicial review of a decision by Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for an Adare bypass.
Some 10,000 cars pass through the village of Adare every day, which is also the main route for N21 motorists driving from Shannon Airport, Dublin and Limerick to Kerry and the southwest holiday area.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

New children's hospital plan puts pressure on creaky facilities

Temple Street children’s hospital was 140 years old last week and it looks every minute of it. A maze of narrow corridors and dark and dingy stairs, it looks like a cross from the worlds of Charles Dickens and Alice in Wonderland. Staff and parents alike daily toil up steps, past the “mind your head” signs and the cracked windows, and through a rabbit-warren of passages and rooms.

Read the article @ The Irish Times

Posted by BPS Town Planning Consultants 

Altered city plan could aid hospital concerns - expert

Planning concerns around the national children’s hospital could be swept away with a simple variation to the Dublin city development plan, a former head of the Irish Planning Institute has said.
Fergal MacCabe, a city planning expert and consultant, made his comments in light of a report highlighting possible hurdles to the chosen site.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Scenic road scheme must be redesigned, says planning board

A €65 million scenic road scheme which would radically widen and straighten a large section of the narrow fuschia lined road between Dingle and Tralee will have to go back to the drawing board, An Bord Pleanála has ruled.
The upgrade of 28 km of the N86 between Dingle, Annascaul and Gortbreagoge to Camp is one of a handful of “type-3 single carriageway” pilot projects planned for national secondary tourist routes along the western seaboard. The design allows for constructed cycle ways as well as overtaking .
Read the article @ The Irish Times

St James's tops list of imperfect locations

Q The children’s hospital – is it in the right place?
After four years of reviews and no action, the national children’s hospital got back on track this week with the Government’s selection of St James’s Hospital as the location. But is St James’s, an inner city site that has much in common with the previous failed choice of the Mater, the right place for this flagship project?
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Hospital site smallest among options assessed by group

The site proposed by St James’s Hospital as the location for the new national children’s hospital was the smallest considered by the Dolphin review group and was assessed as high-risk in a later planning review.
However, the group chaired by businessman Frank Dolphin found that St James’s had the best range of medical specialties to partner a new children’s hospital. The planning review suggested an enlarged site be used at St James’s, a proposal that was taken up by Government.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Council to discuss planning history of Carlton site

A special meeting has been scheduled to explore the issue of the “Carlton site” area off O’Connell Street which has remained undeveloped following at least 14 years of protracted planning issues. 

Pressure mounted on Dublin City Council officials last night to explain in detail an agreement reached for the development of the historic 1916 Moore Street site following a TG4 documentary broadcast last month.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Report considers ban on heavy lorries in Slane

Councillors in Meath have been presented with a report examining the impact of banning heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in Slane village.
Earlier this year An Bord Pleanála refused permission for a bypass of Slane. It said a bypass would be acceptable only where it was demonstrated that no appropriate alternative was available; this was taken to mean considering banning HGV traffic from the medieval village.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Sweetman v An Bord Pleanála (case C-258/11)

On September 12th the Court of Justice heard oral submissions in the case of Sweetman v An Bord Pleanála (case C-258/11).
Mr Sweetman had objected to the decision of An Bord Pleanála to authorise construction of the Galway City outer bypass. Part of this road crosses limestone pavement, a protected habitat in EU law.
The Supreme Court referred the case to the Court of Justice for guidance on the meaning of the term “adversely affects the integrity” in respect of a protected site.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Decision in favour of Cork retail centre challenged

A HIGH Court challenge has been brought against planning permission for a new local retail centre at Model Farm Road, Cork.
Raymond Dennehy, Manor Hill, Ballinacollig, Co Cork, and Brian Herlihy, Muladhara Ballinaboy, Ballinhassig, are seeking orders overturning a September 2011 decision by An Bord Pleanála granting permission for the development.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

The children's hospital

Costs and compromises lie at the heart of the Government’s decision to locate a new national children’s hospital at St James’s hospital in Dublin. Infighting between medical and political interests generated so much public confusion in recent months that the best interests of children and their parents appeared secondary considerations. Now that a decision has been taken, no time should be lost in providing this vitally needed facility.

Read the article @ The Irish Times

Posted by BPS Town Planning Consultants

Tuesday 6 November 2012

National children's hospital to be built on St James's site

The Cabinet has given the go-ahead for a new €500 million national children’s hospital on the St James’s hospital campus in south Dublin city.
At a press conference at Government Buildings this afternoon, Minister for Health James Reilly said he had brought his recommendation to the Cabinet today on the location of the hospital.
Read the article @ The Irish Times

Council to sue Tom McFeely over Priory Hall

DUBLIN City Council is to sue the bankrupt developer Tom McFeely and others over what it claims are "defective" apartments at Priory Hall.
Mr McFeely's company, Coalport, developed the Donaghmede apartment complex, which was evacuated last year by order of the High Court due to concerns about fire safety.
More than 250 families had to leave their homes and seek alternative accommodation.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, at the High Court, has now granted the council permission to bring proceedings against Mr McFeely, who is bankrupt.
Denis McDonald, SC for the council, told the court that his client had brought an action against both Mr McFeely and several other parties over what it claims are structurally defective apartments at Priory Hall.
He said the council had leased some 27 apartments at Priory Hall and Mr McFeely was the mortgagee of eight of these.
Mr McDonald said that despite the fact that Mr McFeely is bankrupt, the council still wanted him included in the action that it intends to bring against eight others because the developer could be found liable by the court.
It could also be the case that Mr McFeely may be successful in his application to have the court's decision to adjudicate him bankrupt reviewed. That review is due to be heard next month.
The judge, who said the council was making a "somewhat unusual" application, said she was prepared to grant permission to bring the action.
The order was granted ex parte (one side only represented). Neither Mr McFeely nor any legal representative acting on his behalf were in court.
In July, Mr McFeely was declared bankrupt after a court rejected his argument that his centre of main business interest was the UK.
He had previously been declared bankrupt in the UK but decision was subsequently rescinded following a challenge by Theresa McGuinness, from Rush, Co Dublin, who brought bankruptcy proceedings in Ireland against Mr McFeely over the failure by one of his companies to pay a court award of €100,000 to her.
- Tim Healy

Read the article @ The Irish Independent

Cabinet picks St James’s as site for new children’s hospital

THE Cabinet has picked St James Hospital as the location for the new national children's hospital.
The hospital will be built on lands in and around St James Hospital.
Health Minister Dr James Reilly formally announced the decision this afternoon.
Dr Reilly was be accompanied by Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald and junior health minister Alex White.
He added today that it was regrettable that €26m of the €39m already spent on the Mater site would not be recovered.
Earlier he conceded that an original deadline of 2016 for the hospital to be built will not be met.
He also said hospital will cost over €500m to build, although this is less than the €650m that it 
would have cost at the Mater site.

Fionnan Sheahan
Read the article @ The Irish Independent