Thursday 19 April 2018

South Dublin residents oppose embassy plan by developer Johnny Ronan

Developer Johnny Ronan
Developer Johnny Ronan

Gordon Deegan

A group of south Dublin residents is opposing plans by developer Johnny Ronan to establish an embassy on Burlington Rd.

The Upper Leeson Street Area Residents' Association is appealing a decision by Dublin City Council giving Mr Ronan's RGRE Embassy Ltd from changing the use of the main building at 32 Burlington Rd from residential to embassy.

The residents argue that the proposed development permitting office use "sets an undesirable precedent and is profoundly retrograde in nature".

In a split decision, the City Council refused Mr Ronan's firm permission to change the use of an existing mews building at the site from residential to live/work use and his firm has appealed that aspect of the decision only to An Bord Pleanála.

The buildings are close to the junction of Burlington Rd and Leeson Street.

The City Council gave permission for the change of use from residential to embassy after concluding it complied with the zoning for the site.

The building is currently vacant and Mr Ronan's firm has identified a demand for embassy use of the building.

However, in its appeal, the residents' association expressed frustration with the growth of embassies in the general area, claiming that the area's status as a residential conservation area "is now under serious threat".

In their appeal, residents state: "It is an unfortunate reality that many diplomatic missions/embassies have in our experience carried out development contrary to planning conditions or without planning permission where it seems the Council is thwarted in taking enforcement action where diplomatic immunity or such is pleaded."

The residents also argue that the likely installation of defining characteristics of embassy office use - floodlighting, security spotlights, cameras and excessively high and visually obtrusive perimeter railings "will result in serious injury to existing residential amenity by reason of light overspill and invasion of privacy".

They state: "We are particularly opposed to embassy office development per se, which we believe no longer constitutes an acceptable form of development in a residential conservation area, or in any residents' area."

The residents claim that the proposed development by its nature will attract a level of activity, such as office visits and functions, which further erodes the existing general residential character of that area of Burlington Rd.

The residents also raise concern over additional traffic movements and parking concerns and state that such concerns are "already an issue for example at the Romanian embassy on Waterloo Rd - especially around election times, when citizens resident in Ireland are entitled to vote, which also results in long queues of people lining the public pavement for many hours".

A decision is due on the appeal next October.

Irish Independent

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