Major development at ESB headquarters appealed

Appeals have been lodged in relation to planning approval for a major mixed development at the ESB headquarters near Dublin City centre.

Dublin City Council granted permission, at the end of January, to ESB Commercial Properties Ltd for plans that included demolition of all 20th-century buildings on the block, the renovation and reuse of nine Georgian houses, and change of use of part of another.

The three-acre site comprises a city block, bounded by Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Upper Mount Street, James’s Street East and Lower Baggot Street, and includes ESB’s headquarters.

In the application last July, it was proposed to replace the demolished buildings, of four to seven storeys, with new builds of similar heights. The 36,208sqm of 20th-century buildings would be replaced with a similar floor space of offices, but with café, retail, event space, restaurant and other uses, bringing the total to 45,000sqm. Three of the protected Georgian houses were to be retained as offices, with apartments proposed for the others. The council approved the scheme subject to conditions, but permission is dependent on the determination of An Bord Pleanála, which has received appeals from An Taisce and other third-parties.

* Alterations have been proposed to the function of parts of the ground-floor of the under-construction One Albert Quay scheme in Cork City centre. For the previously-permitted development, at Albert Quay and Albert Street, work began late last year on a major eight-storey office scheme. The developer John Cleary’s firm, Progressive Commercial Construction, has indicated in the past week, to Cork City Council, that it wants to change the use of three ground-floor units permitted for retail/office use. Instead, it is proposed that those 1,464sqm could provide for general offices and/or business and technology uses, and/or office-based industry, and/or retail/office use.

* A city-centre Nando’s chicken restaurant has been permitted in a Cork premises occupied by homeware store, Meadows & Byrne. The city council gave the go-ahead late last week for the application, which was submitted in January by Nando’s Chickenland Ireland Ltd. The restaurant required a change-of-use permission and internal changes will be made to the building, which has entrances at Academy Street and to French Church Street, where new awnings were also proposed.

New signage to both streets also featured in the application, but the permission stipulates no take-away use and outdoor seating is subject to separate licensing arrangements, rather than a planning function.

* A scheme of 224 new homes in south Co Dublin stands approved, after an appeal by the applicant, about conditions, was withdrawn.

In June, Airscape Ltd applied to South Dublin County Council, which granted conditional permission at the end of October for the work at Cooldown Commons, Fortunestown Lane, in Dublin 24. The applicant company had lodged an appeal in relation to the conditions, which required phased development in November, but has now withdrawn that appeal. The plans are for the houses and to partially develop Citywest Avenue, at a site where the same firm got permission for 300 new homes in 2007.

* The proposed, partial relocation of a transport company depot to a former electronics plant site is the subject of an appeal, following the plan’s refusal in January by Cork City Council. Murphy Transport applied, for a second time, last November, to develop a depot at the 2.5-acre former Hormann Electronics site, at Mahon industrial estate, on the city’s southside. The industrial building was knocked after the plant closed in 2008, and in April of last year the council turned down the firm’s previous application to locate there.

In the more recent submission, the company wanted to build office and staff facilities, parking areas and other facilities, with changes made since the first application for lorry-parking and washing facilities within the site.

After the council again refused permission, citing noise, excessive heavy-vehicle movements and zoning issues, the company has now asked An Bord Pleanála to consider it.


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