Friday 22 February 2019

U2 gets green light for band's visitor centre planned for Dublin's docklands

An artist's impression of how the U2 visitor centre in the Dublin Docklands would look when it is built
An artist's impression of how the U2 visitor centre in the Dublin Docklands would look when it is built

Gordon Deegan

U2 has received the green light for the band’s visitor centre planned for Dublin’s docklands.

This follows Dublin City Council granting planning permission for the centre that is expected to attract 390,000 U2 fans annually to the centre on Grand Canal Quay.

In recommending that planning be granted for the development, the planner’s report in the case stated that the centre “will upgrade one of the most prominent locations in the city” and contribute “to the animation of the area”.

The City Council planner’s report also reserved special praise for the design of the planned centre by Dublin-based architects, ODAA.

The planner in the case stated that the development “will allow for the construction of a striking and innovative contemporary/modern building in an inner city location”.

The planner’s report stated that the planned centre exhibits a distinctive contemporary design "which will make a positive contribution to the site and Dublin’s urban fabric”.

The proposal has faced strong local objections but the planner’s report states that the proposal “would not injure the amenity of property in the vicinity”.

As part of the 19 conditions attached to the grant of planning, the applicants, Paddy McKillen Snr’s Golden Brook Ltd and U2’s MHEC Ltd must pay a total of €225,647 in planning contributions towards public infrastructure and the Luas C1 Line Scheme.

The City Council gave the centre the go-ahead after U2 and Mr McKillen significantly reduced the height of its planned visitor centre in response to ‘serious concerns’ expressed by the City Council last August.

The planning authority granted planning after U2 made a 16.25pc reduction in height of the 14.4m metre (47.2 ft) high centre.

The revised height of the visitor centre is 12.06 metres (39.5 ft) after the 2.34m (7.67ft) reduction.

Town Planning Consultants, Manahan Planners on behalf of the applicants told the Council that the reduction in height “is the maximum it can be reduced while still keeping the internal form of the building”.

The proposal is to include a reconstruction of the band’s original studio and various themed exhibit areas that include a series of abstract scenes such as ‘the Music Room’ and ‘Larry’s Kitchen'.

An objection lodged on behalf of 63 nearby apartment dwellers claimed that the proposal would result in overshadowing of apartments.

However, the most recent submission by  ODAA confirmed that an independent light analysis conclusively demonstrated that the reduction in height “eliminates any potential impact on the quality of natural daylight reaching the buildings directly behind or any properties within the vicinity”.

The architects stated that the revisions have been achieved without undermining the intent of the original concept “and we are confident that the revised design maintains the same degree of functionality and user experience as before”.

In response to the original plan, planning consultants for Carysfort Capital, McGill Planning stated that, if granted, the U2 visitor centre “will leave a profound and long term effect on the character of the Grand Canal Dock area”.

The consultants stated that “the chosen design and architectural language is simply not appropriate for this location and should be refused”.

McGill Planning state that the planned "monolithic" U2 visitor centre “presents a significant and unsympathetic urban edge to Hanover Quay”.

In total, 12 objections were lodged against the proposal with seven submissions in favour including Failte Ireland and Dublin Chamber.

U2 and Paddy McKillen Snr have been contacted for comment on the planning permission being granted for the proposal.

Online Editors

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