Sunday 15 July 2018

Ronan's bid for tower on Tara Street toppled by four votes to three at ABP

An artist’s impression of Johnny Ronan’s proposal for the Tara Street site in Dublin
An artist’s impression of Johnny Ronan’s proposal for the Tara Street site in Dublin
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

While developer Johnny Ronan's bid to build Dublin's tallest building next to Tara Street station has been knocked back by An Bord Pleanala, it seems to have been a close-run thing judging by the details of the board's direction.

According to it, the board voted by a majority of four to three to refuse permission for the scheme after considering the file and its own inspector's report at three meetings.

Rejecting Ronan's proposal for a 22-storey (88m) tower comprising offices, a hotel and rooftop restaurant, An Bord Pleanala decided not to accept its own inspector's recommendation to grant permission.

The board said it did not agree with the inspector's view that the "overall effect of the building would be positive and would not affect the setting, context or character of the wider architecturally sensitive area".

It also said it did not agree with the inspector's view that the proposed building would achieve "the overall aims and objectives as set out in the George's Quay Local Area Plan..."

In bringing his appeal to An Bord Pleanala, Ronan had argued that his plans had followed Dublin City Council's own planning policies and objectives for the Tara Street scheme. He had also pointed out that the Dublin City Development Plan 2016 identified the George's Quay area as a location for high buildings of over 50 metres.

Mr Ronan's team noted too that the City Plan and George's Quay Local Area Plan (LAP) prepared by Dublin City Council's planners and adopted by the council specifically includes a provision for an 88m-high building on the site.

While a spokesman for Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) said last week that Ronan and his advisers would consider the ruling "carefully" before deciding on their next course of action, it would be open to them to seek a judicial review of the decision under Section 50 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (As Amended).

Should Ronan decide to pursue this course of action however, he will be minded to the fact that the courts do not adjudicate on "the merits of a development from the perspectives of the proper planning and sustainable development of the area and/or effects on the environment".

Section 50A of the legislation, meanwhile, states specifically that an application for a judicial review will not be granted "unless the court is satisfied that there substantial grounds for contending that the decision is invalid or ought to be quashed..."

Sunday Independent

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