A total of 67 objections have now been lodged against the contentious €150m Clerys redevelopment plan, with unions and politicians lodging objections to back the concerns of the sacked Clerys workers.
The plan by OCS Properties is to transform the O’Connell St property that housed the famous Dublin department store into a six-storey retail and office scheme, including a top-floor ‘destination area’ with a glass roof and outdoor dining section.
The precinct plan, totalling 350,000 sq ft, also includes a 176-bedroom hotel linked by bridge to the main building. Documents lodged with Dublin City Council —by OCS Properties — show that the so-called ‘Project D1’ will create 3,990 jobs.
Economic consultants employed by OCS have claimed that, over its first 20 years of existence, Project D1 would contribute €6.6bn to Ireland’s GDP and €1.7bn to the exchequer.
The project’s architects Henry J Lyons has told Dublin Council that the proposal “seeks to generate a vibrant quarter within the centre of the city which will see the repair, restoration and regeneration of the original Clery’s building”.
The lodging of the planning application comes 14 months after the shock and abrupt closure of the department store after 162 years trading, resulting in the loss of 130 jobs.
The period for lodging objections is now closed and along with over 50 former Clerys workers objecting, the country’s largest unions, Siptu, and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) have lodged submissions.
They have been joined by local politicians, Deputy Bríd Smith of People Before Profit (PBP), Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys and a host of City Council members including Dermot Lacey, Janice Boylan, Gaye Fagan, Andrew Keegan, Hazel De Nortúin, Tina McVeigh, and John Lyons.
Siptu divisional organiser Ethel Buckley has told Dublin City Council that “the appalling treatment of the Clerys workers has been the subject of public outcry…and has left a lasting negative legacy over the Clerys building”.
Ms Buckley added that planning permission should only be granted to the new owners if they agree to specific enforceable social clauses, including a just and fair settlement for the former Clerys employees.
The deputy secretary general of the CWU, Terry Delaney, echoed the sentiment of many who have objected when he expressed concern that there will be substantially more office accommodation than retail in the development.
“The use of this property as a retail destination has been integral to the O’Connell St area for nearly a century,” he said, adding that the plan proposes 9,000 sq m of office space compared to 3,500 sq m of retail.
He said that changing Clerys department store from a retail destination to a majority office development “must be rejected on these grounds”. Former Dublin Labour TD Joe Costello has made a joint submission with his wife and former Dublin City Lord Mayor, Emer Costello.
In their submission, the couple said: “Our concerns are that the new proposals would constitute over-development, would interfere with the character of [the building] and impact negatively on the national monument”.
A decision on the plan is due from Dublin City Council later this month.
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