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'Screen on the Green' cinema wins go-ahead

THE so-called Screen on the Green has won planning permission despite concerns from rail bosses, retailers and heritage groups.

Dublin City Council has given the green light for an 11-screen cinema on top of the St Stephen's Green Centre.

The €9m development, which includes cinema seating for 1,851 people, will be above the shopping mall.

A number of parties, including those behind the Dart Underground project and restaurant TGI Friday's, had written to the council outlining their concerns.

But officials have decided that Irish Life Assurance plc, the centre's landlords, and Ventakser Ltd can build the cinema.

The decision may yet be appealed to An Bord Pleanala but the council's decision, albeit with conditions, is a major milestone for the project.

Under the terms of the permission, the developers will have to pay a levy of almost €150,000 to the city council.

The money is a "contribution" towards the development of Metro North.

The council has also warned that their permission is subject to restrictions on the use of signs and advertising, as well as loudspeakers, once the cinema is opened.

In January, well-known cinema operators the Anderson family revealed it was to invest €9m in the project.

However, some local businesses raised concerns with the council, stating that they may consider appealing against the project.

They are worried about the scale of the development and what impact it may have on other buildings near St Stephen's Green.

Paul Anderson, of the family's Omniplex Holdings, said they had signed an "exclusivity agreement" with the landlords.

He admitted it would not be an "easy build".

"Everything will have to be craned into the site," Mr Anderson said .

It will be the first multiplex cinema on the southside of Dublin city centre and is expected to create around 100 jobs.