Plans for 11-storey apartment block on 'ugly' D4 site rejected
A controversial high-rise apartment block proposed for a landmark site overlooking the River Dodder in Donnybrook has been refused planning permission.
Dublin City Council has rejected plans by Silver Bloom, a development firm owned by Hong Kong-based businessman Fergus Lynch, to demolish Jefferson House - a five-story office block at the junction of Donnybrook Road and Eglinton Road - to make way for an 11-storey building containing 62 apartments on the site.
Although existing office block Jefferson House had been described by a number of local councillors as one of the ugliest buildings in that part of the city, they also objected to the scale of the proposed new development.
Labour Party councillor Dermot Lacey said Jefferson House was "exceptionally ugly" and had a "really interesting history" as its original planning application led to the establishment of An Bord Pleanala.
However, he claimed that was not a reason "to pile indignity upon ugliness to create an even bigger eyesore".
Council planners noted the existing office block was a "non-conforming use" as the area is zoned for residential development.
Several councillors criticised recent guidelines issued by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who is a local TD, that allowed for increased heights for new developments.
Labour councillor Mary Freehill said that the minister appeared "hell bent" on overriding the existing Dublin City Development Plan, which limited new buildings to six storeys in that part of Donnybrook.
The Eglinton Road Residents Association, which also objected to the Silver Bloom project, said Government directives on standards and heights had "unleashed a tempest of applications for commercial developments of an inappropriate scale throughout the city".
Local residents have already held protests over the summer over another controversial development in the area.
An Bord Pleanala granted planning permission for another large housing development - a seven-storey apartment block containing 94 apartments - directly across the road from Jefferson House.
Green Party councillor Hazel Chu expressed concern that a "valley effect" would be created if both developments were allowed to proceed.
Outlining the basis for refusing planning permission, the council said the proposed development would constitute over-development of the site on account of its height, scale and massing.