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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 21 September, 2017
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Panti to "fight tooth and acrylic nail" to save LED Pantibar sign

The backlit sign has fallen foul of planning rules.

The sign was erected last year.
The sign was erected last year.

THE LED ‘PANTIBAR’ sign on the popular Dublin gay bar may have to be removed after Dublin City Council (DCC) rejected an application to keep it up.

An application for the retention of the sign was refused by DCC for a number of reasons including that it would “impact adversely on the character and integrity of the area”.

The 3.5m long sign was erected above the Capel Street bar last year but has been the subject of a number of planning objections.

On foot of the objections, bar owners Rory O’Neill and Jonathan Bourke made an application to retain the sign but this has now been refused.

In a Facebook post this evening, Panti Bliss said:

I will be appealing this neanderthal decision, and fighting it tooth and acrylic nail.

She added:

There is nothing cheap or thoughtless about any of Pantibar’s visual communication. I love good design, I love Capel Street. I love Dublin (and wish it weren’t blighted by cheap signage that adds nothing to the cityscape). And I fucking LOVE our beautiful sign.

Under planning rules for the area, signs that project outwards are not permitted except in “exceptional circumstances”.

Designers acting on behalf of the applicants argued that this was indeed an exceptional case, adding that the bar had “international recognition”.

“The sign is not merely a pub sign but a sign which reflects the artistic endeavours and extraordinary activities of the unique entertainment provided on the premises,” architecture firm Piece Tynan said in a submission to DCC.

It is a logo of international recognition which does not advertise a pub but a lifestyle of huge significance and importance to the city and indeed the country.

Pierce Tynan also argued that Pantibar is “considered a place of cultural, social and artistic merit” and therefore deserves planning protection.

PastedImage-48978 Plans for the sign submitted to DCC. Source: Dublincity.ie

Objections

Documents published by DCC show at least three separate objections to the sign.

Local resident Kenneth O’Reilly described the sign as “unsightly” and as being ”extraordinarily obvious when lit at night”.

He added that:

This is actually magnified when it rains, thus creating further multiple neon reflections upon the wet roads.

Neon signs are not allowed by the council in the city centre and O’Neill has previously pointed out that the sign in question is not neon but is “a traditional backlit sign”.

Gay marriage referendum Rory O'Neill, AKA Panti Bliss, at Dublin Castle last year as the marriage equality referendum was passed. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

In another objection to the sign, Pat Coyne claimed that the application was an example of people “using the planning code to generate cheap publicity”.

The landlord who owns the building housing the bar has consented to the sign, but another apartment owner says that the sign is actually attached to their building and that they object to it.

Brendan Hade says the sign is actually attached to his building with an address at Jervis Place, not Capel Street.

panti sign Permission to keep the sign in place has been refused. Source: Panti Bliss

The DCC did not make reference to that dispute in its decision but said it came to the conclusion because of the sign’s,

projecting nature, size and scale in conjunction with its location above street level and its use of inappropriate materials.

“(The) lighting would impact adversely on the character and integrity of the area, significantly detract from the visual amenities of the area and set an undesirable precedent for similar development in this area,” the council’s decision read.

The applicants have four weeks to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.

Read: Panti defends ‘gorgeous’ sign amid complaints >

Read: Panti Bliss named in Time magazine poll of 100 ‘most influential’ >

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