By Gordon Deegan
Ambitious new €75m re-development plans for the iconic Central Bank building that includes a new 360-degree 300-seater rooftop restaurant and bar have been given the green light.
This follows An Bord Pleanála dismissing the appeal by one Temple Bar resident against the Dublin City Council granting planning permission to the development on Dublin's Dame Street.
The redevelopment will host over 1,000 office workers in 12,000sq m of offices as well as shops the adjoining buildings.
Last October, the City Council gave the plan the go-ahead after its planner stated that the roof-top restaurant and bar “will provide unique and unrivalled views of the city and is likely to be a major future tourist attraction for Dublin city centre”.
However, Vincent Howard complained that if the redevelopment goes ahead “any privacy I currently enjoy is gone”.
Mr Howard stated that of concern to him was the proposed viewing terrace, stating that the whole purpose of a viewing terrace being to encourage people to look out over rooftops and take photographs.
He says: “My roof garden is just 50 metes from the Central Bank building. I am not happy at the prospect of having people looking in and taking photos, day and night of what is currently - outside office hours - a private space.”
Mr Howard lives on Fownes Street Upper in Temple Bar and says that the private garden is one of the main reasons why he purchased the apartment.
He said: “I have spent a lot of time and money to make this garden a nice place to be and we use it regularly throughout the year and daily in the summer - entertaining, sunbathing, eating meals or just sitting outdoors.
Mr Howard argued that “my lifestyle would be adversely affected by these proposed changes”.
He points out: “Doubtless, the resale value of my property will also fall due to this loss of privacy. There are likely to be other residents similarly affected, but I cannot speak for them - my objection on these grounds is in regards to my own unique situation, and absolutely selfish, and I acknowledge this, but I do think that people’s privacy should be respected, regardless of where they live.”
However, the appeals board has found that the proposal would not seriously injure the amenities or property in the area having regard to a zoning objective of the City Development Plan “which seeks to consolidate and facilitate the development of the central area and to identify, reinforce and strengthen and protect its civic design character and dignity”.
The board made the decision after Senior Planning Inspector, Paul Caprani stated: “While some level of overlooking (of Mr Howard’s garden) will inevitably occur, I consider that the impact on one private individual’s visual amenity must be balanced against the wider benefits economically, culturally and in urban design terms which the proposed development will bring to the city centre.
He said: “Furthermore, the viewing platform will be located 67 metres from the appellant’s roof garden which is a significant separation distance particularly having regard to the site’s location within the city centre.”
Mr Caprani added: “This generous separation distance will in my view, to some extent, maintain the appellant’s privacy.”
Mr Caprani also stated that he agreed with the applicant’s point that that any patrons of the viewing area would not be necessarily drawn to the roof garden in question.
He said: “The viewing platform provides unrivalled panoramic views of the city centre in all directions and this, together with the visual emphasis on the various city centre landmarks, is likely to be focus of attention of patrons visiting the upper floors of the building.”
Consultants of Hines and Peterson told the city council that “the vision for this redevelopment is to create a world class mixed use scheme incorporating food and beverage and retail uses at street and basement level, the sensitive refurbishment of the existing office floors and the creation of a two storey roof top destination.”