Plans to redevelop Liberty Hall, a much-detested high-rise building in Dublin have been rejected by An Bord Pleanála, the planning board.
Proposals for Liberty Hall were approved by Dublin City Council in February but the Irish planning system involves an extra level of oversight where planning applications are referred to the planning board.
Unusually, anyone can file objections with the planning board, with it common practise for the complaint to only be withdrawn after a payment from the developer to the claimant, a situation that has led to the creation of "professional objectors" who live nowhere near projects and complain on a serial basis in the hope of financial gain.
The proposals saw a new building planned of 22 storeys that would have been about a third higher than the present 59.4 metre tall tower which occupies the site. Part of the height increase will would come from the creation of a public observation level at the top. Designed by Gilroy McMahon Architects, the development is being driven by Services, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union who own the site and consider the current tower obsolete, and have been working on plans since 2006.
The plans were attacked by the planning board as being out of place with the surrounding area with fears raised it would detract from the historic Custom House. The same complaints however can be leveled at the current building or any future tall building planned for the site. It will be impossible to fit the same amount of office space as present in a shorter building meaning that if demolition and redevelopment is not an option, so perhaps Liberty Hall will get a reclad instead.
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