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Heritage row halts Mater Hospital plan for revamp

A VITAL extension to a Dublin hospital has been delayed by objections from a heritage body over a planned one-storey addition.

Dublin City Council had granted the Mater Private on Eccles Street in Dublin 7 the go-ahead for the much-needed project, only for An Taisce to lodge an appeal.

Merinfort is seeking to increase a section of the hospital by one storey to six, as well as to increase the height of other buildings by between one and three storeys.

If completed, the work would give the facility 18pc more floor space.

However, An Taisce says no height increases should be permitted on the "historic" Eccles Street front.

"The existing 1980s building maintains the scale of this important Georgian street which forms part of planned vistas around nearby St George's Church, Hardwicke Place," a written objection from the organisation stated.

An Taisce insisted the addition of a sixth storey on the south side of Eccles Street would "unbalance" the scale of the street, which is "lined with terraced Georgian buildings of three and four storeys".

In contrast, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board gave its support to the expansion.

The board, which is charged with developing the National Children's Hospital on the Mater Hospital campus, stated it has had "constructive discussions" with the private facility and it "broadly supports" the planning application.

The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) informed the council it also backed the proposal, saying it "fully supports the development as presented".

Cancer

But An Taisce lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala against the council's decision to approve the project, putting the plans back by at least six months.

In recent years, the Mater Private has undergone several expansion schemes aimed at improving services.

Earlier this year it officially opened a new cancer genetics clinic.

The unit's primary aim is to offer preventative care for patients who have an increased risk of developing cancer.