An Taisce calls for an Independent Planning Regulator to investigate Dublin City’s decision on Liberty Hall after An Bord Pleanála refuse the application

16th November 2012
Press Release

“An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland is calling on the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government to immediately appoint an Independent Planning Regulator as per the Mahon Tribunal and for that Regulator to immediately investigate the planning function and competence of Dublin City Council, following the An Bord Pleanála refusal of the Liberty Hall redevelopment.”

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications’ Officer and former Chair of An Taisce stated today. He added

“An Bord Pleanála’s refusal of the Liberty Hall application was on the same grounds as that of the Mater site proposal for the National Children's Hospital earlier this year in that this application also breached the Dublin City Development Plan and national legislation on the protection of Architectural heritage.”

In this case, the Board cited the Development Plan policy "which seeks to protect and enhance the skyline of the inner city" and that "the scale and, in particular, the height of the development as proposed, would be unacceptably dominant in the city, would be visually intrusive in the streetscape and riverscape and would seriously injure the visual amenities of the city and its skyline"

The Board further ruled that "the proposed development seriously detract from the setting and character of the Custom House, would intrude on the O’Connell Street and Grafton Street Architectural Conservation Areas, and other important vistas in the city."

This decision is very similar to that for the over-scaled Mater site for National Childrens’ Hospital and is based on the recognition of the real importance of the cultural and economic status of the centre of Dublin as the national capital. It also protects the asset value of Dublin's historic centre, which is key to boosting tourism and safeguarding jobs in the wider visitor accommodation and entertainment sectors.

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications officer of the Trust stated “This decision again raises the wider question as to why Dublin City Council is found to have once again breached its own Development Plan and National Policy and the lack of an independent investigation thereof.”

In 2009 An Taisce sent a dossier of 23 cases to the than Minister for Environment Heritage and Local Government showing how Dublin City Council breached its own Development Plan in many of the most significant planning applications across the city centre over a period of years.

Instead of recognising this as a systemic failure requiring remedy, the inadequate response by the Department criticised An Taisce for raising the issue of the competence of senior management and planners in the City Council.

An Taisce is now seeking a Independent Planning Regulator to undertake this investigation and to extend it into the City Council's endorsement of the failed National Children's Hospital and Liberty Hall plans.

It is a waste of time and scarce resources for major applications to be processed through the planning system, if they are then overturned because they are found to be in breach of local and national policy.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications - Tel: 087 2411995

Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer Tel: 01 7077075

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland