Conservation protections planned for Moore Street

Councillors agree emergency motion to initiate change to Dublin city development plan

Redevelopment of Dublin's Moore Street could be subject to new restrictions, following agreement of Dublin city councillors to pursue a conservation designation for the street.

Councillors on Monday night agreed an emergency motion to initiate a change to the city development plan to make the street an “architectural conservation area” (ACA).

The designation puts tight planning controls on any changes to properties on the street including controls over the demolition of buildings which are not protected structures, but which the council considers are “important for the protection of the local distinctive character of the area”.

Building owners would not be allowed to make any material changes to their properties without seeking permission and any changes to building exteriors would have be “consistent” with the area’s character.

The decision to apply the designation follows disquiet from councillors of all parties that the council has been unable to access houses on the street to assess their suitability to be added to the record of protected structures (RPS). Councillors voted six years ago to begin the process of adding up to 13 Moore Street buildings to the RPS, but conservation architects contracted by the council have yet to assess the building interiors.

The State-owned buildings at 14-17 Moore Street are national monuments and are due to be developed as a 1916 Rising Commemorative Centre.

However, most of the remaining buildings on the street are owned by UK property group Hammerson, with several designated for full or partial demolition as part of a major office, retail and residential scheme.

‘Small-scale development’

The company owns a six-acre plot stretching from O’Connell Street to Moore Street and Parnell Street formerly known as the Carlton Site, and is expected to lodge a planning application for a retail office and residential scheme in April.

Green Party Cllr Donna Cooney – who chairs the Lord Mayor's Forum on Moore Street – proposed the ACA designation and said the "sensitive restoration and revitalisation" of the street was essential.

The regeneration of Moore Street should focus on “small-scale” development, she said

“Moore Street and its immediate surroundings have suffered from decades of neglect. There is now an extraordinary opportunity to commemorate the past and permit development in sympathy with its surroundings,” she said.

“This is an area steeped in history that includes one of the oldest surviving Dublin street traders markets. One week after the 105th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, let us honour those who died, fought and spent their last days on Moore Street by supporting the inclusion of Moore Street as an Architectural Conservation Area.”

While Hammerson plans a fresh development for the city, the company has the benefit of an existing planning permission secured by previous owner Chartered Land for a €1.25 billion enclosed shopping complex on the site which remains valid until 2022.

City planner John O’Hara said while existing permission means the developer does not have to comply with a new RPS listing, “we will go to Hammerson and ask them again whether or not we can have access to the buildings. However, there is a valid planning permission on the site and the developer or the owner is not required to comply with any listing or adding to the record of protected structures while there’s is a valid planning permission.”

Hammerson declined to comment.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times