Friday 30 September 2016

Olympic ice rink gets go-ahead in Liffey Valley plan

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

An artist’s impression of the proposed extension at Dublin’s Liffey Valley, which includes a new plaza with a curved roof and an Olympic-sized rink that can host ice hockey matches
An artist’s impression of the proposed extension at Dublin’s Liffey Valley, which includes a new plaza with a curved roof and an Olympic-sized rink that can host ice hockey matches

The country's first Olympic-sized ice rink, which will form part of a massive extension to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, in Dublin, has been given the go-ahead.

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Planners have approved permission for a 2,500-seater stadium along with space for around 60 extra retail stores and a large urban plaza under a 20-metre glazed canopy.

However, South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has rejected proposals for a multi-storey car park that could have facilitated 1,800 cars. It also demanded a €5m payment to allow for changes to the local road infrastructure. The Irish Independent understands the main retail area will be anchored by two stores, which are yet to be identified.

The centre's co-owner, Hines Ireland, said "strong interest is being expressed by a number of leading retail brands".

Hines's senior managing director Brian Moran described its plan as "visionary" and said it would "redefine Liffey Valley as both a shopping and retail experience and also a leisure and recreation destination".

However, there is significant local concern about the impact of the development on traffic in the Clondalkin area, as well as on the N4 and M50.

An Olympic-sized rink that can host ice hockey matches
An Olympic-sized rink that can host ice hockey matches

Among 21 conditions attached to the permission, SDCC has requested a revised parking plan which includes paid parking.

"The plan shall include initiatives to encourage the use of public transport, cycling, walking and car-pooling for both staff and customers in order to reduce the number of car journeys," it said.

The €5m will be used to change road layouts, including the junction with the N4 which will have additional "congestion loops" added.

But local councillor William Lavelle said there are "very, very serious unresolved issues and questions about traffic management". He said more needed to be done to limit traffic build-up on the M50 and N4.

Artists impression of new plaza with a curved roof
Artists impression of new plaza with a curved roof

He wants Transport Infrastructure Ireland to meet with the local authority's transport committee "to see what can be done to facilitate this development, not block it".

Overall, the expansion is "a positive development", he said. The leisure arena, which will be predominately used as an ice-skating rink, will be a massive 10,500sq metres.

The application noted that it will be "designed for international standard ice-related activities but also allowing the flexibility for other similar events with the capacity to seat up to 2,500 people."

Irish Independent

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