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City maternity hospital plans are dropped

MAJOR plans to improve services at the country's biggest maternity hospital have been abandoned.

The National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street had wanted to construct pre-natal classrooms and physiotherapy facilities for women.

But the planning application has now been withdrawn, eight months after it was first lodged.

Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients' Association said Holles Street needs to explain why the project was halted.

"Obviously at some stage, it was identified that these service deficits existed and these were improved facilities for women and expectant mothers," Mr McMahon told the Herald.

"That whole process (the planning application) cost a lot of money – they have to have designs. It would be very important to know why it has been pulled at this stage," he added.

Mr McMahon said he could understand if the project was dropped if the hospital could not secure council permission.

"But to pull it before the planning (process was finished), it does raise questions. It really needs to be explained," he added.

NUISANCE

The hospital had not responded to a request for a reply at the time of going to print

The site in question is located to the rear of the hospital and to the south of an historic building called the Old Mosaic Assemblers Warehouse, located on Holles Row.

Planners had said the building was an old coach house which was "clearly part of the original fabric" of Merrion Square and within the grounds of important protected structures fronting onto Mount Street Lower.

They had raised concerns over the effect the hospital scheme might have on the nearby "architecturally significant setting of Merrion Square".

Holles Street had wanted to demolish an existing two-storey structure on the site and construct a new two-storey block to accommodate an education and medical centre.

The development would have housed pre-natal classrooms, three physio rooms, an office and a reception area.

A series of objections had been lodged against the plans, including one from Fine Gael councillor Kieran Binchy who said local residents had suffered "serious disturbance and nuisance in the past" when Holles Street was carrying out building projects.

comurphy@herald.ie


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