Pub escapes demolition after permission for apartments refused

A Cork-based development firm had sought approval for a five-storey mixed-development which would have required several properties including Quinn's near Croke Park to be knocked
Pub escapes demolition after permission for apartments refused

 Quinns Pub on the Lower Drumcondra Road will not be knocked after planning for apartments on the site of the Dublin Northside pub was refused. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Plans to develop an apartment complex and shops on the site of Quinn’s pub in Drumcondra have been rejected as Dublin City Council said its promoters had failed to justify the proposed demolition of the famous northside meeting place.

Council planners ruled the pub, which was once owned by the bankrupt billionaire businessman, Seán Quinn, was “a building of architectural and social significance”.

They claimed the demolition of Quinn’s and adjoining shopfronts would contravene the Dublin City Development Plan which seeks to preserve the built heritage of the city as well as to encourage the re-use of buildings of historic and architectural interest which make a positive contribution to streetscapes.

Cork-based development firm, Discipulo Developments, had sought approval for a five-storey mixed-development in three blocks on the site of a row of buildings on Lower Drumcondra Road which would have required the demolition of a several properties including the pub which is familiar to thousands of GAA fans attending matches in nearby Croke Park.

The company’s plans provided for 50 build-to-rent apartments as well as a bookmaker, café and shop at ground floor level.

However, council planners vetoed the project on a number of grounds including that the proposed development would not provide appropriate residential amenity for future tenants due to the lack of quality private open space as well as the lack of adequately sunlit communal space.

They criticised plans where north-facing balconies, which could only be accessed through bedrooms, were within 10 metres of bedroom windows of opposite units.

The council ruled that the development would have “undue and unacceptable impacts” on neighbouring properties on St Alphonsus’ Avenue and Lower Drumcondra Road due to overshadowing.

Design faults

It also found fault with the design and excessive height of the development, which will reach over 17 metres, which it said would be out of character with the existing buildings in the area.

Council planners also agreed with objectors that aspects of the design could also attract anti-social behaviour.

Discipulo claimed the development would bring an existing inaccessible site back into productive use for both residential and retail purposes.

It claimed the variety of apartments met the “aspirations of a range of people and households,” although the council observed that most units would be unsuitable for children.

The development had been opposed by a large number of local residents and elected representatives including Dublin Central Green Party TD, Neasa Hourigan, with objectors claiming it would have a negative impact on neighbouring properties as well as traffic and parking in the area.

Ms Hourigan said people wanted to see the site developed in an appropriate manner but she believed there was already an overconcentration of build-to-rent accommodation in the city centre.

While there might be a place for some amount of such developments, it is difficult to see that the volume of such applications being approved is the best use of the limited land bank in the inner city.

The Iona and District Residents’ Association said Quinn’s had been a focus and landmark in Drumcondra for over 150 years for generations of locals and GAA fans.

“Several different communities have an attachment to this building because it is an essential reference point and meeting place,” said the association’s secretary, Cormac Brown.

Opposing the development, Mr Brown said its design was out of character with the area and would not help to preserve Drumcondra’s architectural heritage.

Quinn’s was placed on the market in 2019 by the liquidators of IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank with an asking price of €2m.

Discipulo may still appeal the council’s ruling to An Bord Pleanála.

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