herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Bewley's to be listed as 'essential' under new planning rules

Planning

Bewley’s on Grafton Street
Bewley’s on Grafton Street

Bewley's cafe will be protected as an "essential part" of Grafton Street under a plan due to be adopted by the city council.

The iconic cafe has been given a special mention in an amended draft development plan after submissions from the public.

The Dublin City Draft Development Plan 2016-2022, which will govern planning rules and how the city develops, is due to be adopted by councillors later this year. A draft of the plan was released to the public to have their say and 1,484 submissions were received.

Changes

City chief executive Owen Keegan has made recommendations for changes to the plan on the back of these and councillors will be briefed next week.

Included is a newly-added reference to Bewley's, which reads that the building is "deemed to be of special significance to Grafton Street, and an essential part of the street's character".

Also added to the plan is a commitment to seek a detailed masterplan for the Mountjoy prison site before any redevelopment of the site.

The plan already recognised a long-term "aspiration" to redevelop the area, although previous government plans to relocate the prison were shelved.

Meanwhile, a previous stipulation included in the plan that would require all buildings to adhere to 'passive house' standards has also been removed - on the back of "strong advice" from the Department of the Environment.

Passive houses are based on a German model and uses solar energy to increase efficiency.

The houses are built to be almost airtight and have a ventilation system that allows for superior air quality. However, they are more expensive to build.

The HSE and the Department of Education were also among those who didn't want to see passive housing standards.

Smaller apartment sizes will also become the planning norm for the city after the Department of Environment asked that the guidelines published last year - which allow for a smaller size - be reflected in the document.

The new guidelines set the sizes at 45sqm for a one-bed apartment, 73sqm for a two-bed apartment and 90sqm for a three-bed apartment.

Opportunity

Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe said that he was "very concerned" about the new standards.

"I'm concerned that the department is looking for smaller and colder homes," he said.

"We had an opportunity in this plan to improve apartment and building standards."

A spokesman for the department said that their focus was on quick delivery in their advice to remove the passive housing standard.

In the case of the apartment guidelines they "ensure that individual local authorities don't set unique and unaffordable standards, in terms of up-front costs of purchase or rent costs," he said.

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