The extent of demolition on Moore Street and Henry Street planned as part of the 5.5-acre "Dublin Central" development is "unnecessary" and "unwarranted", the Department of Housing has said.
UK property group Hammerson is seeking permission for a mixed retail, office and residential scheme on the large north inner city block formerly known as the Carlton site, parts of which have lain vacant and derelict for more than 40 years.
The site, which stretches west from O'Connell Street to Moore Street, and north from Henry Street to Parnell Street, is to be developed under six separate planning applications. The first three applications, which focus on Moore Street and Henry Street and include residential, hotel, retail, restaurant and café and cultural uses, were lodged with Dublin City Council last month.
While Hammerson proposes the retention of a number of buildings in its ownership on both streets, significant demolition across the site is planned.
In a submission to the council the Department of Housing said the "extent of demolition of all or part of these two terraces of early-20th century buildings is unwarranted". The department is responsible for the National Monument buildings 14-17 Moore Street, which are due to be developed separately as a 1916 Rising Commemorative Centre.
However, it said, the post-1916 buildings on Moore Street and Henry Street, now almost 100 years old, were also of significance.
“These are fine buildings of their time, form an important part of the urban streetscape of the city centre and appear to be largely intact both internally and externally. They also have historical significance as part of the reconstruction of Dublin City immediately after the Easter Rising of 1916,” it added.
It raised particular concern about plans to demolish number 38 Henry Street, which Hammerson proposes to convert into a new passageway into the site.
“The proposed demolition of no 38 Henry Street to create so-called ‘permeability’ in the street block is, in the department’s opinion unnecessary,” it said.
“Dublin has a tradition of arched openings within terraces of buildings which allows permeability at street level whilst maintaining the integrity of the terrace and retaining the building fabric at the upper floors.”
The adaptation and reuse of existing buildings “should be considered a more sustainable option than the demolition and construction of new ones,” it said.
“The department believes that many of the landmark buildings on this site are capable of refurbishment and adaptation and recommends that the planning authority should consider whether an alternative design of the redevelopment of this site would allow for the retention and sensitive adaptation for reuse of significant existing structures.”
The council planners had been due to issue a decision on the application this week, but it is expected they will ask Hammerson to review aspects of their plans.
While several business and tourism organisations, including Fáilte Ireland are supporting the scheme, large numbers of objections have been lodged by politicians, 1916 relatives' groups, and Moore Street businesses.