July 3, 2017, 9:10 a.m.
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PLANNING PERMISSION FOR Johnny Ronan’s 22-storey Tara Street skyscraper has been rejected by Dublin City Council because of the effect it could have on the “historic core” of the city.Ronan – a high-profile Celtic Tiger developer who exited Nama two years ago – lodged plans to build an 88m building on a site adjoining Tara Dart Station, in May. The plans included a 110-bedroom hotel and a rooftop bar.Dublin City Council has rejected the plans, claiming that it would have a “detrimental impact” on the River Liffey and O’Connell Street.The refusal read:It also decided that the “scale, bulk and height” of the building would detract from the character of the Custom House on the opposite side of the Liffey.The Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022 “seeks to protect and enhance the skyline of the inner city, and to ensure that all proposals for mid-rise and taller buildings make a positive contribution to the urban character of the inner city”.Taking this into consideration, the council determined that the proposal would, in fact, have a negative effect on the urban character of the city.“The proposed development would therefore seriously injure the urban character and visual amenities of the historic city core and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” the council said.OppositionThe plans were opposed by conservation group An Taisce last month, which said the skyscraper would be “highly obtrusive” and would cast a “significant shadow” over the Custom House.It argued that the project “would detrimentally affect” buildings of architectural importance on the quays and could harm architectural conservation areas on O’Connell Street and Grafton Street.A number of objections were also lodged by local businesses to the council over the past month, including a report commissioned by the owner of Kennedy’s pub on George’s Quay – a protected structure that was also namechecked in An Taisce’s letter.James Brennan, the owner of Tara Leather shop and a neighbour of Kennedy’s pub, said in his objection letter that construction works could damage the protected building.“The proposed development will be almost touching Kennedy’s building,” he said, “which is an old structure and vulnerable to damage from heavy construction and vibrations required to lay foundation.”With reporting by Conor McMahon