Fears part-demolition looms for local landmark The Big Tree

by Dublin Gazette

There is some worry that The Big Tree former pub may face partial demolition after a structural report submitted by developers suggests a retention of the building could pose health and safety risks.

The Big Tree pub has been a landmark in the Drumcondra area for decades, originally having been built in the late 1890s and has since becoming renowned for GAA fans and Dubliners alike.

Last year, it was revealed that the pub would close to make way for the development of a new hotel, to be developed by the Dublin Loft Company.

However, in giving planning permission, it was stipulated that the original The Big Tree structure was to remain in place and incorporated into the new hotel.

Now, it is believed that the Dublin Loft Company are seeking permission to demolish all but the ground floor façade of the popular pub, rebuilding the rest of the structure.

In a structural assessment report submitted to Dublin City Council by Barrett Mahony consulting engineers, on behalf of the developers, the group say that works to retain the existing structure would be “extremely complex” with “numerous risks to health and safety”.

The report, which was initially submitted in February, reads: “Given the extremely dilapidated state of the building, both the temporary works and permanent works required to retain the existing structure and refurbish it for integration into the proposed new structure, would be extremely complex, with numerous risks to health and safety.

“It is our recommendation that the front façade of the Big Tree Pub between ground and first floors be retained … and that the remainder of the building be reconstructed.”

A letter lodged by An Taisce against the demolition of any of the current Big Tree structure says that the organisation believes that “the proposal to reconstruct the existing facades does not justify demolition of the existing historic building”.

The letter to DCC from An Taisce reads: “Preservation of historic buildings within new development, where appropriate, has formed an established and integral part of regeneration of the historic inner city over the past couple of decades, and there is no good reason to depart from this approach [at the Big Tree site].”

It is understood that DCC have given Dublin Loft Company six months to provide a revised structural assessment report, establishing whether the existing building can be retained and for the specific structural defects that would make retaining the existing property impracticable.

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