Stargazing plan for Croker roof walk is rejected
A PLAN by Croke Park to extend the opening hours of its rooftop walkway to facilitate stargazing has been rejected.
Stadium officials had sought to keep the popular Skyline visitor attraction open for an extra three hours every day, closing at 9pm instead of 6pm.
It was hoped the move would help develop it as a tourist draw by allowing for "astronomical observations" at night.
But city planners rejected the application, saying it would contravene one of the conditions of the original grant of permission from Bord Pleanala.
Dublin City Council said: "The applicant has not provided compelling evidence to the planning authority that the proposed development would not have a negative impact on adjacent residents in terms of noise, lighting and increased traffic necessary to facilitate the proposed extended hours of operation over a year-long period."
As a result, the extension would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, it said.
The ruling came following a string of submissions objecting to the plan.
"Greater disturbance to the community will be caused by increased usage of the rooftop including greater noise," a group called the Irish Stadium Communities Association (ISCA) wrote in a letter of objection.
"The suggestion (by the applicant) that 'night-time astronomical sky observations' will attract tourists from abroad beggars belief," it added.
"It is well known that observatories are located away from cities due to the fact that light pollution interferes the viewing of night-time skies," the association said.
The Croke Park Street Committees Association also lodged an objection, saying an extension of the opening hours would be "a further invasion of residents' privacy".
"Tourists with binoculars can easily see into residents' gardens and windows," it said.
"The idea put forward by the planning applicant that there is a huge demand for night-time skies events observations is certainly one for the birds."
Skyline has become a major attraction since it opened in 2012 according to stadium representatives. Accompanied by a tour guide, visitors ascend to a walkway 44 metres above the ground to take in panoramic views of Dublin and learn about landmarks. It includes stops at five platforms along Croke Park's 0.6km rooftop walkway.
The application for the opening time extension was lodged with the council by the trustees on behalf of the GAA.
Next year, a zipwire from the roof down to pitch level will be installed to attract tourists. Visitors will be able to glide downwards on a harness attached to the roof of the Canal End, some 17 storeys high.