Developers reapply to build complex near Kilmainham Gaol


Developers have applied for planning permission to build a massive office, hotel and residential development on a site opposite Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.

Six months after An Bord Pleanála rejected its previous plans for an office park on the site, Charmside Ltd, a subsidiary of Treasury Holdings, has lodged a fresh planning application with Dublin City Council.

The company's previous proposal for the site of the former Nestlé/Rowntree chocolate factory on Inchicore Road was criticised by local residents, politicians and An Taisce, who claimed it would dwarf the gaol and other historic buildings in the area.

The new application differs from its predecessor in size, form and use. In place of the previous proposal for three blocks up to six storeys high, it envisages five blocks ranging in height from three to nine storeys.

The higher buildings would be set back from the gaol, with the nine-storey accommodation block situated at the back of the site, close to the railway line and main road from Dublin to the west.

The new application proposes 46,073 square metres in space, less than the 55,902 square metres envisaged in the first proposal.

Although the site is zoned industrial, the developers are now proposing a mix of uses, including office, residential, 36 "live/work units" and an "apart-hotel" with 59 rooms. Eight shops, a creche, a restaurant and an archive and exhibition space, including tourist information office, are also planned.

The scheme includes plans for 195 apartments, made up of 15 one-bed, 106 two-bed and 39 three-bed "student accommodation". Some 310 car-parking spaces will be provided, about half the number provided for in the previous application.

The development provides for the demolition of the existing factory building, which has been vandalised in recent months. "Sculptural features" will be installed along the Inchicore Road frontage facing the gaol, and a "landscaped feature" relating to St John's Well, which rises on the site, is also planned.

The Friends of Kilmainham Gaol group, which opposed the original permission, said that it would study the new plans in January. A spokesman welcomed the greater variety of uses envisaged, but said it was too early to say whether an objection would be lodged.

An Bord Pleanála held a three-day oral hearing on the original permission last February. In July, the board voted four-three to uphold its planning inspector's decision to overturn the permission.