Dublin City Development Plan changed to suit ESB

Company can now seek permission for new HQ building

 Kieran Binchy (centre): said he was supporting the motion “with a heavy heart” because the buildings could never be brought back but he was against a “Disneyland version of a Georgian street”. Photograph:  Sandra Harney

Kieran Binchy (centre): said he was supporting the motion “with a heavy heart” because the buildings could never be brought back but he was against a “Disneyland version of a Georgian street”. Photograph: Sandra Harney

 


Dublin city councillors have voted to change the city development plan to facilitate the ESB’s redevelopment of its Fitzwilliam Street headquarters. The company wants to demolish and replace the offices designed by Sam Stephenson and Arthur Gibney in the 1960s, doubling the capacity of the existing building.

However, the new scheme did not comply with the development plan policy that the Georgian façades of the 16 buildings demolished to make way for the headquarters almost 50 years ago be reinstated.

Councillors last night agreed to a variation which removes this requirement.

It states that any redevelopment “respects and enhances the character and composition of the Georgian streetscape” in terms of the rhythm of windows and doors, the proportion and scale of the ground floor to the upper storeys, parapet height etc and removes the reference to “reinstatement of the Georgian façade”.

Kieran Binchy (Fine Gael) said he was supporting the motion “with a heavy heart” because the buildings could never be brought back but he was against a “Disneyland version of a Georgian street”.

Fianna Fáil councillor Jim O’Callaghan said he had proposed the original policy to reinstate the buildings. “To say we can’t have imitation would mean the neo-classical bank of Ireland on College Green would never have been built.”