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North Dublin apartment block refused planning permission following objection from local pub

The Bald Eagle raised concerns that the block would negatively impact its business.

Image: Darmody Architects/Dublin City Council

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR an apartment block in north Dublin has been overturned after a local pub objected about the potential impact the development would have on its business.

Earlier this year, Dublin City Council granted roofing contractor P Rooney Roofing permission to build a two-storey development at Cross Guns Bridge in Phibsborough.

The company had proposed to demolish two derelict houses and a garage at the site and to construct a mixed-use development containing nine apartments, a retail unit and a basement car park.

It intended to provide pedestrian and vehicular access to the apartments via Phibsborough Road and a rear lane called McGuinness’ Lane.

The laneway is situated between a snooker hall on Royal Canal Bank, a road adjacent to the Royal Canal, and back of the Bald Eagle pub on Phibsborough Road.

The snooker hall and pub use the laneway for storing rubbish and the delivery of kegs, and while both businesses have access to it, P Rooney Roofing contended that it had right of way to use it.

The local authority granted permission for the development in March, despite receiving an objection on behalf of the Bald Eagle which said that permission for a similar development had previously been refused by the council.

A number of locals also objected to the development, telling Dublin City Council that its height was excessive, that it would negatively impact wildlife, that it was out of character with the area and that it would overshadow and overlook other buildings.

Exclusive access to laneway

The derelict buildings at the site were subsequently demolished, but Saltcross Limited – the parent company of the Bald Eagle – appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála in April and no further development of the site has taken place since.

In a letter to the authority on behalf of Saltcross, architect Giuliano Davenport told the authority that no agreement had been reached between the developer and owners of the pub or snooker hall regarding to the use of the McGuinness’ Lane.

He said that the laneway was exclusively used by the Bald Eagle and the snooker hall, and that it would not be acceptable for P Rooney Roofing to use it as an entrance to the proposed apartment block.

Bald Eagle The Bald Eagle and the site of the proposed development at Cross Guns Bridge Source: Google Street View

Concerns were also raised over the potential impact that the pub’s outdoor seating area would have on residents when the development was complete.

Davenport argued that the existence of the pub would inevitably lead to noise complaints from future residents of the apartments, particularly as some of its windows faced out onto the McGuinness’ Lane and the pub’s smoking area.

He said that this would make the development substandard and previously told Dublin City Council that noise complaints would potentially prejudice the pub’s ability to apply for or renew its licence for later opening hours.

Amenities inadequately protected

In her report, planning inspector Sarah Lynch said that if a development had the potential for noise disturbance, it should include measures to reduce noise levels.

However, she noted that no such measures were submitted by the developer as part of its plans, saying this would be necessary to ensure that insulation was provided to ensure both the amenities of future residents and the economic viability of the Bald Eagle.

She added that P Rooney Roofing had failed to demonstrate that these amenities were inadequately protected, and found the development was contrary to the provisions of Dublin City Council’s Development Plan.

Meanwhile, Lynch also said that the existence of windows above McGuinness’ Lane, which is currently used for ventilation and storing rubbish, would result in a “significantly substandard form of development”.

She said the use of the laneway was a legal matter and not one that the authority could determine, but found a number of planning issues relating to its location.

Lynch noted that a proposed ground floor bedroom window faced directly onto the laneway, two metres from the snooker hall.

She said that this gave minimum potential for daylight to enter the room, and that the window would also open directly onto the McGuinness’ Lane where rubbish was stored.

She also said that the developer had not adequately shown that vehicles could access the lane leading to the underground car park without creating a traffic hazard on the adjoining Royal Canal Bank, a narrow road running parallel to the canal.

Citing these reasons, she overturned the council’s decision and refused permission for the construction of the development.

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