The recently proposed redevelopment of the D4 Hotels site in Ballsbridge, Dublin has been refused planning permission, after the local council deemed the project to be ‘too intense.’ The skyscraper development, which was first proposed in 2005, was to include leisure facilities, offices and over 500 residential apartments and would have had significant positive effects on the local economy, with a construction capital investment of 1 billion Euros creating around 970 on-site construction jobs.
Mountbrook Group, who commissioned respected architectural firm Henning Larsen Architects to design the ambitious project, expressed dismay at the rejection, stating that it would have ‘broken the mould for Ireland’. In addition to which, the development included significant social benefits for the local residents of Ringsend and Irishtown, including a sports hall, crèche, day care centre, and a youth club.
While Mountbrook are disappointed with the outcome of the council’s decision, they are considering submitting a revised application more in accordance with the primarily residential zoning. However in a press statement released on the 31st of January they welcomed a proposal by Environment Minister John Gormley to introduce new planning legislation as they describe the current system as “lengthy, expensive, confusing and unworkable,” with too many parties given a say on what constitutes “proper planning and development on any given site.” These parties include local authorities, politicians, inspectors, and architects, each of whom have their own agenda and differing viewpoints that have contributed to gaining planning permission in Ireland into a game of “Russian roulette.”
As a result of these conflicting agendas and contradictory influences, Mountbrook feel that Ireland’s economy is being irrevocably harmed, “These apparent contradictions within our planning system are detrimental to the country’s economic progress, job creation and development.”