Height restriction to remain for centre

by Aisling Kennedy

Following the rejection of the Phibsborough Local Area Plan (LAP) at a meeting of Dublin City Council (DCC) recently, clarification was issued by DCC last week about the height restrictions on any future developments at the Phibsborough Shopping Centre.
DCC reiterated its stance on the ongoing issue of potential future developments at the shopping centre and said that the height restriction would be retained to the centre’s current height.
This clarification came following recent media speculation that the shopping centre could potentially be constructed to height specifications of 50m/12 storeys.
At last week’s DCC Area Committee meeting, Jim Keoghan, assistant chief executive at DCC, said: “The current City Development Plan is the statutory document for assessing planning applications in the Phibsborough/Mountjoy area. The current policy identifies Phibsborough/Mountjoy as a mid-rise area which allows for new buildings of up to 50 metres to be considered provided an LAP/SDZ is in place.
“As no LAP is in place the current City Development Plan policy in relation to the redevelopment of the existing Phibsborough Shopping Centre allows for the existing height to be retained in any redevelopment proposal.”
The current height of the shopping centre is estimated at 31m/nine storeys.
Keoghan said that a new draft City Development Plan is being prepared and the new plan will come into effect in November 2016.
“As the LAP fell, it was agreed by the members to use the draft City Development Plan process to incorporate key policy elements of the key development sites outlined in the draft LAP for inclusion in the new City Development Plan for statutory guidance.
“It was also agreed to incorporate key environmental objectives of the draft LAP into a draft Local Environmental Improvement Plan (LEIP).”
DCC also clarified that as yet, they do not have confirmation of who will buy the Phibsborough Shopping Centre contrary to recent media reports.
Speculation that Peter Leonard, son of Tony Leonard of Clarendon Properties, had bought the shopping centre for a reported €17m have gone unconfirmed by DCC.
Keoghan said: “The Phibsborough Shopping Centre is in the process of being sold. Confirmation of this sale being completed has not been confirmed to the city council. With regard to recent newspaper articles I wish to confirm that no member of the planning department has had any pre-application consultations with the owners/receivers of the Phibsborough Shopping Centre in relation to any future planning application.”
Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) said he welcomed the council’s clarification and said: “The Phibsborough LAP is a vital part of the city and the fact that the plan is in somewhat of a grey area is a very serious matter.
“The shopping centre has been an atrocious visual pollutant for some time and it needs to be completely removed in consultation with local residents.
“An appropriate town centre or village centre should be placed there.”
In terms of the ongoing dispute over the height of the shopping centre, Cllr Flynn said: “I would prefer to see DCC give some measure of a rule as a developer in the city like they used to do when they actually built these buildings years ago.”

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