Thursday 22 February 2018

RTE gets go-ahead for €350m futuristic complex

Ailish O'Hora

THE futuristic €350m development of RTE and its studios got the green light yesterday.

It came after a lengthy planning process, which saw high-profile objections from local residents, including financier Dermot Desmond and the German Embassy.

The 31-acre project will proceed over a 10- to 15-year period with minor adjustments after An Bord Pleanala approval.

The broadcaster will demolish its 1960s-style TV and radio buildings and replace them with a new 46,000 sq metre state-of-the-art complex or the so-called "Project 25", which has been on the drawing board since 2002.

It will include a purpose-built complex, including five television studios and a public plaza.

Dublin City Council had already given the project the go-ahead earlier this year but there were appeals by Mr Desmond and the German Embassy and a subsequent oral hearing by An Bord Pleanala.


The complaints included claims the plans failed to take into account the level of disturbance and interference with their homes, a number of which are protected structures.

While decisions by the planning board can be appealed to the High Court, they can only be based on a technical point of law and are extremely rare.

RTE welcomed the decision yesterday and said the facility was necessary for the broadcaster to remain competitive and provide viewers with high-definition digital television services.

"This a capital renewal plan for the long-term modernisation of RTE's production facilities in Donnybrook which date from 1962," a spokesman said.

"The securing of planning permission is an important milestone in a project which commenced in 2002 and which aims to ensure that RTE is properly equipped to meet its obligations in a digital age."

The plan is now expected to go ahead in five different phases, pending certain conditions.

These include alterations to a new proposed entrance at the Stillorgan Road/Airfield Park side of the site and height restrictions on parts of the development also on the N11.

Proposals to plant more trees on the boundary of the site have been added as part of the conditions following the objections by neighbours.

The project will be funded through cash reserves and bank loans, RTE said yesterday. The national broadcaster has insisted its €200m licence-fee income will not used to fund the project.

Work is expected to begin on the site as early as 2012.

Irish Independent

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