Marriage counsellors halt Garda HQ redevelopment
A major redevelopment of a landmark Dublin site has been stalled because the works may disrupt counselling sessions for couples looking to save their marriages.
The country's best known marriage guidance service, Accord, lodged an appeal against plans by property firm Hibernia Reit to redevelop the €70m Garda regional HQ site on Dublin's Harcourt Square.
Accord claims that the building works may disrupt marriage counselling sessions in its adjacent building.
Earlier this year, Hibernia announced that it had acquired the Garda site and in April, Hibernia lodged plans for a seven-block redevelopment. In its first full year operating in the Dublin property market, Hibernia has invested €448m in property here.
Dublin City Council gave the project the green light in May despite an objection from Accord, which has now gone to An Bord Pleanala. The appeal, lodged by Kiaran O'Malley & Co on behalf of Accord, states that "Accord has legitimate concerns about the nature and extent of the works proposed here, the likely impact upon their property and the potential consequences for the delivery of key services during the construction phase".
It adds: "Accord provides a wide range of counselling and advice services at 39 Harcourt Street immediately adjacent to the application site."
The appeal states: "Consultations regarding the sensitive matters demand a relatively quiet environment, free from unwanted disturbance."
As well as the permanent impacts of the proposed development, the consultants state that Accord "is worried that the construction activities will significantly hamper its ability to deliver ongoing services to clients at these premises".
The appeal stresses that Accord does not object in principle to the redevelopment but considers that the proposal would have a serious overbearing impact upon its property.
The Dublin City Council Planner's report giving the plan the go-ahead points out that the existing buildings were built in the 1970s and are now dated.
On the new plan, the planner stated that the proposal is both a positive and welcome contribution to the streetscape. A decision on the appeal is due later this year.