O'Brien-led Donnybrook property plan denied permission


A consortium headed by the multi-millionaire businessman Mr Denis O'Brien has been refused planning permission for a 26-storey apartment tower in Donnybrook village in Dublin.

The glazed cylindrical tower, designed by deBlacam and Meagher Architects, would have housed 36 two-bedroomed apartments and one three-bedroomed two-storey penthouse, with commercial and office space spread over the first three floors.

The development was to be located between Donnybrook Garda station and the local fire station, on the former BizQuip site that was acquired by the consortium five years ago.

Dublin City Council yesterday refused permission for the building, saying it is too high and because of the lack of amenity spaces for potential residents.

"The height of the development would have resulted in destabilising the character of the area, it doesn't accord with city council policy on buildings of this height surrounding two-storey buildings, and if it was to go ahead, the amenity space for possible future residents would be substandard," a city planning official said last night.

Mr John Meagher, the architect in charge of the project, said the council's decision was "conservative nonsense". "I think this decision is disgraceful. We don't understand it. This is not another Ardoyne House or Ballymun flats."

The proposed building had a very narrow diameter, would be "akin to the Spike" in O'Connell Street, and would be appropriate to the Donnybrook area, Mr Meagher said.

"This was a very elegant shining glass building. It would be at the axis of Morehampton Road and would have looked spectacular. There's no reason at all that we can't have it at that location. It's totally conservative nonsense not to allow this building."

Mr Meagher said he was sure his clients would consider reducing the height of the building, but he said the building would have to remain quite tall to maintain the correct proportion in relation to its width.

Submitting the application had cost Mr O'Brien "a fortune", said Mr Meagher, as the council had insisted it be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement. He added that he would be discussing the possibility of appeal to An Bord Pleanála with Mr O'Brien in the coming days.

The Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell, who is one of the TDs for Dublin South East, previously expressed his opposition to the tower development.