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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

IGS submission to DCC RE: 2 Grand Parade, Dublin 6

05.04.2017

Posted by IGS

Planning Department
Dublin City Council
Civic Offices
Wood Quay
Dublin 2

Date: Wednesday 5th April 2017

Location: 2 Grand Parade, Dublin 6

Reference No: 2373/17
Applicant: Grand Parade Property Trading Company.

Proposal: The application site has an area of c. 0.576 hectares and contains the former Carroll's Building which is a Protected Structure (RPS Ref.: 3280) and a number of outbuildings. The application site is located to the north of No. 19A and 19-25 Dartmouth Road, Dublin 6, D06 CV44. Development will consist of refurbishment and alterations to the existing 8 storey Carroll's Building (a protected structure RPS Ref. 3280), to include refurbishment of original features and removal of later building fabric, including a single storey rear extension. The proposed alterations include a change of use from office to cafe / restaurant at basement and ground floor level and a gallery / multi-purpose space at first floor level. External alterations to the protected structure include replacement glazing, the reinstatement of the original undercroft, alterations to the existing plant area at roof level and landscaping to the curtilage of the existing Protected Structure. Demolition of 3 no. existing warehouse / light industrial building to the south of the Protected Structure and other ancillary structures on the site. Provision of a new part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 storey, over two levels of basement, new office building to the south of and setback from the Carroll's Building. The proposed office building is connected to the Carroll's Building by a 6 storey glazed atrium and an 8 storey link which provides for new shared circulation / lobby and a services core. A roof terrace is provided at fourth and fifth floor level. The proposed office extension has a total GFA of 10,658 sq.m including basement floorspace. Vehicular access to the office building and basement car park will be from Grand Parade and a secondary controlled vehicular access will be provided from Dartmouth Road. The development includes 30 no. car parking spaces, 126 no. bicycle spaces, changing facilities and plant area, including electrical rooms, substation and swichrooms at basement level - 1. A plant room is also provided at basement level -2. 9 no. surface level car parking spaces are provided. The total floorspace, including existing retained and proposed new floorspace, including basement area, to be provided on site is 15,647 sq.m GFA. The development includes all associated site development works, hard and soft landscaping and all other ancillary works.

 

Dear Planning Officer,

The Irish Georgian Society writes to raise our concerns about the above application which we maintain will have a detrimental impact on the architectural set piece, Dartmouth Square.

Dartmouth Square is designated an Architectural Conservation Area in the Dublin City Development Plan.  It is the last in the tradition of formal Georgian and Victorian squares developed in Dublin. 

Architectural Conservation Area
Dublin City Council’s Architectural Conservation Area statement describes Dartmouth Square as "one of a series of formal Victorian residential squares ... laid out in Dublin in the nineteenth century".  The houses lining the four sides of the rectangular square are described as being "identical in design and ... good examples of Dublin's Victorian residential architecture."  The ACA statement also notes that the ‘relationship of the landscaped central park to the uniform red brick residential Victorian terraces forms an integral component of this architectural set piece.".  It continues by noting that ‘the central [garden] area retains its private, enclosed character, created by dense belts of mature trees, low plinth wall and wrought-iron railings along all four sides of the boundary. The sylvan character of Dartmouth Square gives the area a secluded special character and a welcome peaceful feeling of separation from the urban bustle."

Transitional Zone Areas
While the application site has a Z6 land-use zoning designation, seeking to facilitate enterprise and employment creation, Dartmouth Square has Z2 Residential Conservation Area land-use zoning (in addition to the Architectural Conservation Area designation) which seeks to protect and/or improve the amenities of the residential conservation area.

Section 14.7 of the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-22 relates to development in transitional zones and is relevant to the proposed development at Grand Parade. It states: "The land-use zoning objectives and control standards show the boundaries between zones.  While the zoning objectives and development management standards indicate the different uses permitted in each zone, it is important to avoid abrupt transitions in scale and use zones.  In dealing with development proposals in these contiguous transitional zone areas, it is necessary to avoid developments that would be detrimental to the amenities of the more environmentally sensitive zones.  For instance, in zones abutting residential areas or abutting residential development within predominately mixed-use zones, particular attention must be paid to the use, scale, density and design of development proposals and to landscaping and screening proposals in order to protect the amenities of residential properties."

Dartmouth Square, on account of the good quality period brick residences laid out in a formal square, and the residential use of these properties, is a zone of very high environmental sensitivity. The proposed development to the rear of the Carroll's building, on account of its large scale (including an atrium to the full height of the existing building) and direct proximity to the square would form an abrupt transition in scale between the two zones and would be severely detrimental to the amenities of the more environmentally sensitive zone (Dartmouth Square). As such the proposed development would be in serious conflict with the City Development Plan provision on Transitional Zone Areas as quoted. Note also the provision specifically seeks development sensitivity where sites abut residential areas.

Protected Structures
The site at Grand Parade is not an average commercial site in Dublin as it is surrounded on three sides by streets of period residential houses (protected structures). Of particular sensitivity within these streets is Dartmouth Square West as it lies directly (within metres) to the east of the application site where development is proposed.

The individual houses lining Dartmouth Square are all protected structures. As with the Architectural Conservation Area and Residential Conservation Area (zoning) designations, particular sensitivity is required when developing adjacent to Protect Structures so as to avoid adverse effect and preserve existing amenities.

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council: "To ensure that the special interest of protected structures is protected." (Policy CHC2).  This policy further requires that "Development will conserve and enhance Protected Structures and their curtilage and will ... not cause harm to the curtilage of the structure; therefore, the design, form, scale, height, proportions, siting and materials of new development should relate to and complement the special character of the protected structure"

Section 11.1.5.3 of the Development Plan further states: "The curtilage of a Protected Structure is often an essential part of the structure’s special interest. In certain circumstances, the curtilage may comprise a clearly defined garden or grounds, which may have been laid out to complement the design or function. However, the curtilage of a structure can also be expansive and can be affected by development at some distance away ... Any development which has an adverse impact on the setting of a protected structure will be refused planning permission."

The proposed development at Grand Parade, in view of its excessive scale and close proximity to protected structures at Dartmouth Square West, would severely harm the curtilage of these protected structures, would fail to relate to and complement their special character, would fail to avoid adverse impact on their setting and so is in serious conflict with the City Development Plan policy and provision on protected structures. 

In conclusion, the site at Grand Parade is inappropriate for the type of development proposed due to its close proximity to the many protected structures, in particular those located on Dartmouth Square, which also has Architectural Conservation Area designation. 

In view of the above reasons, the Irish Georgian Society appeals to Dublin City Council to refuse permission for the development.