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The site of the former Apollo House building
The site of the former Apollo House building
Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

An Taisce appeal puts plans for 21-storey development at Apollo House site on hold

An Taisce claim that the proposal does not protect the major cultural inheritance of the surrounding area.
Jan 16th 2020, 1:52 PM 16,229 35

PLANS BY DEVELOPER Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group to increase the height of the 11 storey office block it is delivering on the site of the former Apollo House in Dublin to 21 storeys have been put on hold.

This follows An Taisce and one local resident, Mark Conan appealing the Dublin City Council decision to An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for the additional 10 storey residential tower which will result in a 21 storey development.

The residential tower comprises of 54 build-to-rent apartments and the combined height of the amended College Square development will rise to 78.95m (259ft).

However, in its appeal, Kevin Duff of the City Association of An Taisce has told An Bord Pleanála that were the building to be permitted “Dublin would be headed toward an incoherent Manchester- or Brussels-type city centre with modern high-rise towers randomly inserted into the historic urban structure and looming up behind old streets and buildings”.

Duff makes the claim by pointing out that the proposal’s location is so close to Trinity College, College Green and the city centre’s historic core, and on top of the recently-permitted nearby Johnny Ronan planned 22-storey building at Tara Street.

An Taisce claim that the proposal does not protect the major cultural inheritance of College Green or the historic Trinity College campus enclosure.

The appeal states: “On account of their outstanding quality and importance these areas need to be treated to the highest international standards in respect of conservation of the historic urban landscape character and setting.

The appeal states that the proposal is in conflict with the provision of the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-22 which generally seeks to protect the historic city centre.

Council report

However, the city council planner’s report which recommended planning permission be granted concluded that “the proposed development will add to the upgrading of one of the most prominent locations in the city”.

The Council planning report stated that the proposal “will allow for the construction of a striking and innovative contemporary/modern residential tower in an inner city location proximate to public transport and other amenities”.

The report also stated that “the development provides apartments, which will add to the quality and quantity of the housing stock in the area and will provide a valuable asset for both established and new communities”.

The report went on to state that “the proposal exhibits a distinctive contemporary design which will make a positive contribution to the subject site and Dublin’s urban fabric”.

The report also concluded that the plan would not have a significant and negative impact on a number of important views and vistas in the city and on balance, the proposed scheme is unlikely to have any greater visual impact on the skyline than the permitted Johnny Ronan 22 storey tower.

Architects for the scheme, Henry J Lyons state that the slender and elegant 10 storey residential tower is designed to generate a strong visual identity and architectural presence.

A design report by the architects states that the height of the building “is not dominant or uncharacteristic with its surrounding built context”.

The design report states that the proposed development along with nearby developments would generate a strong sense of place through the diversification of the skyline and make a positive contribution to the urban character of the area.

A decision is due on the appeal in May.

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Gordon Deegan

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