Amgen’s site zoning application approved

by Staff Reporter

A ZONING application by pharmaceutical company Amgen to expand its plant onto land currently owned by the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH), was passed after much debate by councillors at a meeting of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Amgen and the NRH entered into a land deal last November which necessitated a change to the County Development Plan, and this variation was passed in the same month.
The new zoning was sought so that the pharmaceutical giant could purchase land from the NRH for the mutual expansion of both; however, the hospital has plans to expand with or without Amgen’s  involvement.
Councillors agreed to pass the new zoning for the site, from institutional status to medical healthcare zoning between Pottery Road and Rochestown Avenue, by a vote of 16 to 5.
A spokesperson for the NRH told The Gazette: “Because the proposed new 120-bed facility is of a completely different design to the original 235-bed hospital for which we got planning permission in 2008, we have to apply all over again for permission.
“The new facility will be roughly on the same site as the original application, and will be a separate building connected by a corridor to the existing hospital.
“Though it would be a financial help to our plans, there has been no sale of any land yet and, whether Amgen buys our surplus land or not, this facility will go ahead with hospital funding and the HSE.”
Cllr Patricia Stewart (FG) greeted the rezoning by saying:  “This is a boon for Dun Laoghaire. The hospital can start working towards their new patient facility, and Amgen can acquire the land that the hospital is selling to copper-fasten their commitment to their Dun Laoghaire plant.
“They will be employing 300 people by the end of this year, and have given work to some 400 people over the past year during the construction of their new on-site unit.”
More than 100 submissions were received from local people, mainly expressing concerns about industrialising what is essentially a green area, particularly the Workman’s Club field on the Pottery Road.
Councillors allayed this concern by including a provision for 9m of tree and ground cover boundary planting into the new zoning.
A spokesperson for Amgen said: “We’re very pleased with the decision, and have no immediate plans for future development. When we do, we will demonstrate a sensitive design, factoring in the proximity of our neighbours.”

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