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  • Northside West

Phibsborough plan appealed

Tuesday, 5th December, 2017 8:00am
Phibsborough plan appealed

The plan for Phibsborough Shopping Centre is being appealed by local groups.

Phibsborough plan appealed

The plan for Phibsborough Shopping Centre is being appealed by local groups.

Adam Daly

AN APPEAL has been lodged against the planning permission recently granted for the €50 million revamp of Phibsborough Shopping Centre.

Permission for the redevelopment, granted by Dublin City Council, is being objected to by a group of Phibsborough residents.

Among them are former politicians Joe and Emer Costello, representatives from Phibsboro Tidy Towns and other locals from Phizzfest. 

The redevelopment plans include an increase in the number of retail spaces and the construction of apartments for 341 students in blocks, ranging up to seven storeys. 

Often referred to as one of the ugliest buildings in Dublin, the eight-storey office tower will not be demolished as part of the plans but instead the existing block will be clad with expanded metal mesh. The rooftop antennae will also be screened with the same material. 

The appellants are petitioning An Bord Pleanála to refuse the mesh treatment of the building. Instead they want new windows fitted and to bring the building up to current environmental standards. 

The appeal states that the retention of the ’50 year old, single glazed, rusting windows in the tower is an act of architectural vandalism’. 

According to Susan Dawson, one of the founders of Phibsboro Tidy Town, no one knows what the long-term consequences of the mesh will be or who is going to maintain it. 

“As a Tidy Town, we are particularly interested in the environment,” she told Northside People.

“It would be much better I think if that shopping centre was energy neutral. Solar panels and triple glazed windows on the tower block. Those sorts of things should be part of the development plan.”  

The feasibility of solar panels on the tower roof, which could produce sufficient energy for the entire development should be examined and included as a condition of planning, according to the appeal. 

Concern was also raised regarding the student accommodation, which will be in two blocks of four to six storeys. The apartments will partially overhang the existing shops facing onto the Phibsborough Road. 

The building of student accommodation instead of apartments for families or older people is “a missed opportunity” according to Dawson.

‘’We want a good mix of people living here,” she said.

“We want people living here that are invested in the area and obviously students are here for a shorter time. We would prefer a better mix of residential accommodation.

‘’The other thing that we would like to see is a better community gain from this. There is no community gain at all. We could do with a meeting space, somewhere where we can store equipment, like for instance tidy town stuff.”

The appeal group state in their objection that the absence of community gain could also be offset by the provision of a proportion of the development being allocated as family homes, rather than just the student tenants.

Former local TD, Joe Costello, said that while Phibsborough supports the redevelopment he believes a liaison committee should be established between the developer and residents. 

“This project is a major €40-€50m development in a fragile residential neighbourhood with colossal levels of transient traffic night and day,” he added.

“It is essential that the residents be consulted on all phases of the development.” 

As a part of the community gain component, the appellants also propose that local residents be involved in the naming of the redeveloped centre. 

It is now open to anyone to make an observation on the appeal, which costs €50. Phizzfest has encouraged residents on their Facebook page to come together to make an observation. The planning reference number is 2628/17 and it can found on the planning section of Dublin City Council’s website.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here