RDS arena €26m revamp granted permission by city council

Project to raise capacity for Leinster Rugby games, provide new facilities for other events

Architectural images of Dublin’s proposed new RDS arena -  a side view of the Anglesea stand. Image: Newenham Mulligan/Grimshaw Architects

Architectural images of Dublin’s proposed new RDS arena - a side view of the Anglesea stand. Image: Newenham Mulligan/Grimshaw Architects

 

The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) has been granted permission by Dublin City Council for a €26 million redevelopment of the Anglesea Stand at the Ballsbridge venue’s main arena.

The project will increase the capacity for Leinster Rugby from 18,500 to 21,000 patrons and provide new facilities for concerts and other events, the RDS said.

The development had been opposed by a number of local residents who said they experienced daily disruption from the 400-plus events held annually at the venue. The Anglesea Road Residents’ Association intends to appeal the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála.

The development involves the demolition of the existing Anglesea stand and Anglesea terrace and a “lean-to” open-fronted shed bounding Simmonscourt Road, as well as the removal of a terrace area surrounding the clock tower, which is a protected structure.

A floodlit grandstand with three levels up to 21.3m tall would be built along with a two-storey “pocket building” just under 10m tall, which would be connected to the grandstand by a glazed bridge at first-storey level. The pocket building would house a club shop and hospitality services including players’, officials’ and media facilities.

‘World-class RDS arena’

The designs for the new development, by Dublin-based Newenham Mulligan and London-based Grimshaw Architects, were chosen 18 months ago to deliver “a world-class RDS arena that will host professional rugby matches, equestrian sports, music concerts and other appropriate sporting opportunities as they arise”, the RDS said.

It had hoped to begin work earlier this year but, it said, developing the detail of the design had required it to meet the specific requirements of Leinster Rugby, the Dublin Horse Show and other commercial considerations of the venue, “all contained on a tight building footprint and in a busy working environment”.

‘Unbearable obstacles’

The Anglesea Road Residents’ Association had objected to the development and said access to their homes and parking in the area had become “unbearable obstacles to residents” due to the growing number of events at the venue.

“Anglesea Road residents have had enough and would suggest that Leinster Rugby be located to a more suitable ground with proper parking facilities provided for families and not adjacent to the other main stadium, Aviva.”

The council’s planning department noted the “sensitive nature of the proposed project and the proximity of residents on all sides of the site” but said the development “would not have a significant negative impact on the existing amenities of the area”, and granted permission.

The RDS said it was “delighted” by the council’s decision. “It is a considerable step along the planning process and one that brings the new stand closer to realisation.

“The new facility will create a top-class experience for visitors and positively impact on the Dublin Horse Show, Leinster Rugby and any other events held in the RDS Main Arena.”

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