RTÉ gets green light for campus revamp

 

RTÉ HAS been granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for a phased €350 million redevelopment of the northern half of its Montrose campus in Donnybrook, Dublin, over a period of 10 years.

The board’s decision, which is subject to 23 conditions, was based on its consideration of the Dublin City Development Plan as well as “the established use of the site, the pattern of development in the vicinity and the design and layout” of the scheme.

However, plans to sell the southern part of the 31-acre site have been constrained by a condition that the use of buildings to be retained “shall be restricted to use by RTÉ staff only and shall not be sold or leased separately” unless permission is granted.

Objectors to the proposed development included An Taisce, the German embassy, billionaire financier Dermot Desmond, who has a house on nearby Ailesbury Road, and several other local residents, who claimed that it would be out of scale.

The planning board ruled that it would be “an acceptable form of development at this location, within the setting of the protected structures and the architectural quality of the campus” and that it would not seriously injure the amenities of the area.

RTÉ said it was pleased to learn of the board’s decision to approve what the national broadcaster calls its “Project 2025” plan for the “long-term modernisation” of its production facilities in Donnybrook, which originally date from 1962.

“The securing of planning permission is an important milestone in a project which commenced in 2002 and which aims to ensure that RTÉ is properly equipped to meet its obligations in a digital age,” the station said.

It made no reference to funding.

Designed by Scott Tallon Walker, the new broadcasting complex would extend to more than 63,500sq m (683,500sq ft) above basement level in buildings ranging from nearly 11m to 36m in height – the equivalent of nine storeys.

They would house television and radio studios, multi-purpose spaces, newsrooms, orchestra, office accommodation and associated facilities, sound stages, set storage areas, broadcasting technology suites, workshops, a creche and parking for 820 cars.

It would involve demolishing the remnants of a walled garden, the existing radio building, a squat multistorey car park to the rear, a single storey creche, a sound stage-library building, a set storage building and an outdoor set used by Fair City.

The board has also specified that a full architectural and photographic survey of the Radio Centre be carried out prior to commencement of development, with a copy to be lodged in the Irish Architectural Archive.

Its decision related to revised plans submitted by the architects during the course of the appeal.