Saturday 25 November 2017

€52m Trinity plan faces opposition from An Taisce and college alumni

Trinity College
Trinity College
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

TRINITY College is facing opposition to plans for a €52m redevelopment of an office block on Dublin's Pearse Street that it wants to convert into student accommodation.

An Taisce and some Trinity College alumni are opposed to the plans.

Dublin City Council has also told Trinity College that it has concerns about the proposed project, particularly in terms of scale, massing and height.

Trinity College applied for planning permission for the development in November.

It wants to demolish the existing five-storey Oisin House, which has been in use by the Department of Social Protection and its predecessor for over 20 years.

The college then wants to build a seven-storey, 13,800-sqm scheme that will house 278 student accommodation units.

An Taisce, the national trust for Ireland, said it's opposed to the plan, arguing that the "densification" of Oisin House is "not necessary or desirable".

"The proposal amounts to an exercise in floorspace maximisation at the expense of an area of great historic, architectural and civic design sensitivity," it said in a submission to the council.

One Trinity alumna has branded the plans a "monstrosity" and said that she and other graduates are threatening to withdraw from fundraising activities if construction proceeds.

"At a recent meeting with some of my fellow Trinity graduates, the redevelopment... was brought to our attention," graduate Kate Yeaton told the council in a submission.

"All at the meeting were horrified that the college would propose such a monstrosity, and all are considering withdrawing from fundraising should this development proceed."

The project will involve the creation of a courtyard, three squash courts and a handball court. Retail units and ancillary student services will also be incorporated into the scheme.

It will also involve alterations to a protected structure to the rear of Oisin House, called the Printing Works, which sits within Trinity's grounds. The entire scheme is slated to be completed by 2018.

But the council wants more information on the proposals.

"The planning authority has concerns regarding the potential visual impact of the development with respect to closer and narrower views of buildings and spaces within the Conservation Area - in particular, views along Pearse Street towards College Green," the council said this week.

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