Transport bodies fear new Dublin 6 offices may hamper Luas

Redevelopment next to Dartmouth Square could affect Luas and proposed Metro South

The former Nationwide premises on Grand Parade, Dublin 6. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The former Nationwide premises on Grand Parade, Dublin 6. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Transport Infrastructure Ireland has sharply criticised Dublin City Council for failing to inform it of a large-scale development proposal that could have an impact on the operation of the Luas Green Line.

The State transport agency has written to the council expressing its dissatisfaction that it was not informed about an application to redevelop the former headquarters of the Irish Nationwide Building Society on Grand Parade. The Luas Green Line runs on an elevated track next to the building.

Separately the National Transport Authority, the State body with responsibility for public transport, has told the council the proposed office scheme could block the future development of Metro South.

American investment company Hines wants to redevelop the former bank building, refurbishing the existing eight-storey 1960s block and adding a new six-storey block. The existing building, originally built for Carroll’s Tobacco Group and one of the few 20th-century protected structures, faces the Grand Canal beside the Luas Charlemont stop.

The proposed new block, which would also abut the Luas line, would back on to Dartmouth Square, a Victorian Architectural Conservation Area. Residents of the square have submitted almost 40 objections to Hines’s plans.

Not alerted to application

In its letter to the council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland said it had not been referred the planning application “despite the potential impact of the proposal on the light rail network” and despite the statutory requirement of the council to seek its views.

The agency said it “notes with concern” that no reference was made to “Luas issues” in pre-planning consultations between the council and the developer.

The NTA has told the council it would be “premature” to grant permission for the development until the former had discussions with the developer

If the plans were to go ahead, the developer should ensure there was “no adverse impact on Luas operation and safety”, Transport Infrastructure Ireland said. It also said the developers would have to apply to the Luas operator for a works permit.

The NTA has told the council it would be “premature” to grant permission for the development until the former had discussions with the developer. It said part of the site was the likely location for a future stop for Metro South, which is prosed under the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2016-2035.

Metro South would connect with Metro North, which would be developed first under the strategy, and would link with the Luas Green line south of the Charlemont stop.

The NTA said it “may be possible” to accommodate the metro connection and “substantial parts” of the Hines development, but it said part of the site would be likely to be required for the Metro.

Hines bought the Carroll’s/Nationwide building last year for about €37 million, more than €20 million more than in had sold for in 2013. The applicants said their proposed scheme would provide “high-quality office space on a significantly underutilised site”. They would undertake a “sensitive upgrading and refurbishment” of the existing building, and the new building was designed to “not dominate the protected structure or adversely impact on Dartmouth Square”.