Dublin City Council has refused planning permission for a five-storey office block in Portobello which had Labour leader Ivana Bacik among its objectors.
The council said the proposed development would “seriously injure” the protected structure of Portobello House along the Grand Canal.
The local authority said the demolition of 34-37 South Richmond Street and 12 Richmond Row would have a “serious adverse impact” on the historic streetscape.
“The development would seriously injure the setting and appreciation of the protected structure at Portobello House, along with the character, value, setting and amenities of the red-hatched conservation area,” said the council.
Objections to the office development were made by Labour party leader Ivana Bacik, the Rathgar Residents Association, as well as individual residents.
Ms Bacik, TD for Dublin Bay South, said she was “concerned to see the proposed construction of office blocks in this location, given our current housing and homelessness crisis”.
Ms Bacik said there are “multiple vacant and underutilised office complexes already available”, and priority should be given to housing developments.
She also asked the council to consider the prevalence of anti-social behaviour in the area and the impact this would have on unsupervised office buildings.
“The Grand Canal of Portobello Harbour is a popular meeting point and on occasion, residents have had difficulty with anti-social behaviour around the Harbour area at night,” she said.
“As office blocks are usually vacant at night, the development of more offices in the area will not add to levels of supervision of the surrounding areas.”
Objections were also made by individuals who made reference to the “unique character” and historic importance of Portobello House, designed by James Colbourne and built in 1807.
It was intended as a hotel which could accommodate passengers on the Grand Canal, but as the canal was predominantly used for freight traffic, it was unsuccessful and had closed by the mid-nineteenth century.
In 1858, it was taken over by catholic nuns and used as an asylum for blind girls. The hotel was later converted into a nursing home.
In its decision notice, the council said if the office development was allowed to proceed, it would “devalue” properties in the area, while also creating a precedent for similar types of “undesirable” development for Portobello.
It also said the “scale, form, materiality and articulation of the proposed new development would seriously injure the architectural character and setting of the adjoining protected structure, and have a detrimental impact on the amenities, character and the wider historic cityscape”.
The development was lodged on behalf of Portodev Limited for a five-storey office block with a café at ground floor level.
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