An Bord Pleanala has rejected a plan by developer Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) to build Dublin's tallest building next to Tara Street station in Dublin city centre.
Mr Ronan's company, Tanat Ltd, had originally sought permission from Dublin City Council to build a 22-storey (88m) tower comprising offices, a hotel and rooftop restaurant. In refusing permission for the development, Dublin city planners said the proposed tower would have a "significant and detrimental visual impact" on the city's skyline.
In appealing that decision to An Bord Pleanala, Mr Ronan argued that his plans for the site had followed the council's own planning policies and objectives for the Tara Street scheme. He 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 includes a provision for an 88-metre-high building on the Tara Street site.
Having considered these and other arguments at an oral hearing held over several days last October, An Bord Pleanala came down on the side of Dublin City Council's planners in its decision.
In rejecting Mr Ronan's appeal, the board said it "considered that the proposed development, due to its scale and bulk, would seriously detract from the setting and character of the Custom House, one of the city's most important architectural set pieces, and would also adversely affect the River Liffey Conservation Area and the O'Connell Street and Environs Architectural Conservation Area".
The board also expressed its concern that the proposed building would "have a significant and detrimental visual impact on a number of important views and vistas in the city including from College Green and the Trinity College campus, as well as Lord Edward Street, the Five Lamps, Granby Row, Frederick Street North, Parnell Street North, Henrietta Street, Kildare Street and Harcourt Street."
In arriving at its decision, An Bord Pleanala also decided not to accept its own inspector's recommendation to grant permission for the development. Explaining this, 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".
Commenting on the board's ruling yesterday, a spokesman for Ronan Group Real Estate said: "An Bord Pleanala's own inspector acknowledged that our scheme as proposed would have been a valuable addition to the architecture of Dublin's city centre. Dublin needs beautiful yet purposeful buildings along good transport links. Being adjacent to both the existing Tara Street Dart Station and the planed Metro station and Dart Interchange there is arguably no site in Dublin better served by transport links.
"Naturally we are disappointed by the decision but we are also bewildered that the board would reject a scheme designed to the very highest international standards, endorsed by its own inspector and fully compliant in terms of height with the recently-extended George's Quay Local Area Plan.
"Ronan Group and its advisors will consider the decision carefully before deciding on its next course of action."