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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Google pitch gets the green light as shouts of 'foul play' ignored

The Google development
The Google development

Google has been granted approval for a rooftop sports pitch as part of a major new development on the site of the former Boland's Mill near the Grand Canal Dock, despite opposition from local residents.

Dublin City Council has granted planning permission for the US multinational to build an open-air "multi-sports enclosure" on the fifth storey of a new office block on Barrow Street.

The pitch, which will cover 220sqm, will be fully enclosed with netting and forms part of a new €300m urban regeneration project to provide Google with extra office and amenity space for the expanding operations of its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Dublin.

The pitch would be used for sports activities including football, volleyball and fitness classes, Google said.

Google was also given the go-ahead for an outdoor seating area on the rooftop of an adjoining office block, also at fifth-floor level.

Opposition to the plans had been voiced by the Shelbourne Park Residents' Association (SPRA), which had claimed that the lighting system and noise from the pitch would cause a disturbance to homes nearby.

Bright light from the facility would spill out on to Barrow Street and other nearby houses and streets, the SPRA claimed.

Locals were also worried the rooftop facilities would be used to stage night-time events "impinging on the peace and privacy" of residents in the area, said SPRA planning officer Billy Ryan.

However, consultants acting for the tech giant said the proposed lighting for the sports pitch was less bright than that typically used for outdoor sports pitches to reduce potential disturbance to the surrounding area.

Dublin City Council officials gave the go-ahead, but imposed several conditions, including a ban on the use of loudspeakers or amplified music from the rooftop areas.

Hours

The council also limited the operating hours of the sports pitch and rooftop terrace to between 8am and 8pm on Monday-Friday and 9am and 5pm on Saturdays between October and March. Weekday opening between April and September would be from 8am to 10pm.

The facilities cannot be used at all on Sundays or bank holidays.

Planning officials admitted the steel structure of the sports pitch would be visible but said it was lightweight, permeable and would "not result in an overbearing impact or result in an unacceptable visual impact".

The residents' group has until November 4 to appeal.

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