herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Liberties residents fear Tivoli plan will lead to 'another Temple Bar'

The Tivoli Theatre
The Tivoli Theatre

Plans to replace the Tivoli Theatre with tourist accommodation has angered local residents.

Many do not want the Liberties area turned into "another Temple Bar", said Dublin's Deputy Lord Mayor.

The theatre on Francis Street, best known for its Christmas pantomimes, is the subject of a planning permission application by owner Anthony Byrne.

He is seeking to turn the former 1930s cinema and bingo hall into a six-storey, 283-bedroom apart-hotel for city visitors.

A revised planning application has included a "performance space".

However, local Labour councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor Rebecca Moynihan said the proposal got a chilly reception from local residents when a revised planning application was discussed.

Under Dublin city planning rules, apart-hotels cannot be used for permanent accommodation. There is a strict limit of two months' stay for any guest.

Yet the area - like many others in the capital - needs permanent housing, said Ms Moynihan.

Local residents not only want more permanent homes in their community, they fear that if the application were granted, it could turn the residential area into a tourist quarter.

"The feeling is there should be housing in the area and not another Temple Bar," Ms Moyniham told the Herald.

Cathedral

Separately, Hodson Hotel Group is seeking permission to build a four-star hotel near St Patrick's Cathedral and a 500-bed student accommodation in "a traditional residential area," said the Deputy Lord Mayor.

The heritage organisation An Taisce was among five objectors to the Tivoli Theatre project when the original planning application was submitted shortly before Christmas.

Opponents had concerns over the height of the building, an increase in traffic in the area and the "transient population" it would attract.

Dublin City Council's conservation office also urged city planners to reject the proposal on the grounds that the site should not lose its cultural identity.

It cited numerous redevelopments in the area that have seen "the removal of all cultural assets and character" and warned that this "should not be repeated" at the theatre.

The office urged the planning department to reject the proposal on the grounds the theatre is "a local, city-wide and national landmark" which not only houses a 500-seat theatre but is a vital night-time venue.

However, after planning consultants revised the proposal to include a new "performance space" that would act as an "occasional" outdoor cinema and venue for performances, An Taisce slammed the revised version as "a tokenistic response to the loss of the Tivoli".

An Taisce heritage officer Ian Lumley said the revised plans for a public area to be called Tivoli Square are unclear.

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