The company behind a plan to develop a site on Moore Street in central Dublin has lodged judicial review proceedings against Dublin City Council, following a vote in November to designate six buildings as protected structures.
Dublin Central GP Ltd (DCGP), a subsidiary of the UK Hammerson group, complained at the time of the council vote that it was unlawful and an improper interference with the planning process.
On Tuesday, it lodged proceedings against the council in the High Court. A spokesman for the company said the six properties were subject to three respective grants of planning permission by Dublin City Council in January 2022 and are currently subject to appeal at An Bord Pleanála.
“Following careful consideration in consultation with its advisers, DCGP has been compelled to take this action to defend and protect its interests, including substantial investments already made, against what it believes are inappropriate and unlawful actions taken by Dublin City Council in adding the six structures to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).”
DCGP’s proposals “for the regeneration of this important 2.2ha (5.5 acres) site in Dublin’s north inner city represents an opportunity to sensitively rejuvenate this historic part of the city, while ensuring its long-standing traditions and important heritage can be retained and celebrated”.
The affected buildings, which are associated with the events of the 1916 Rising, are due for demolition or partial demolition under the plans for the development of a long-derelict 5.5 acre site that stretches from the old Carlton cinema on O’Connell Street to Moore Street, Henry Street and Parnell Street.
The buildings in question are listed as 4-8 Henry Place, Dublin 1; 17-18 Henry Place, Dublin 1; 10 Moore Street, Dublin 1; 12 Moore Street, Dublin 1; 13 Moore Street, Dublin 1; and 20-21 Moore Street, Dublin 1.
Dublin city councillors first sought protection for the buildings seven years ago. However, the process stalled, in part because the site’s previous owners, Chartered Land, denied the council’s inspectors access to the buildings, but also because the company had already secured permission for their demolition. This permission, first granted in 2010, expired in September 2022 and, at the time of the vote, DCGP wanted the matter to be ruled on by An Bord Pleanála.
However, the council’s head of planning, Richard Shakespeare, submitted a report recommending that the buildings be listed as designated structures. The buildings affected include some on Moore Street that contained “creep holes” made during the Rising to allow movement between the buildings on the terrace, as well as buildings on nearby Henry Place which are also linked to the Easter 1916 violence.
The developers argued that An Bord Pleanála was the forum within which the merits of the issues surrounding the buildings’ status should be resolved. “It would be fundamentally at variance with proper planning for the council to prejudice or attempt to exert influence on the outcome of pending planning process [of the board] by proposing to add these structures to the RPS at this particular time,” a representatives said at the time.
“Major investment in the regeneration project was made in reliance on planning history, including the extant permission and the long-standing strong policy, within relevant development plans favouring regeneration of these lands,” they said.
However, the council said it was not precluded from adding a building to the RPS while there were “pending” planning applications. “Indeed, the planning authority may add a structure where it deems it ‘necessary or desirable’ and is not bound by any time limitation.” There was, it said, a “long-standing and historic interest in considering the protection of 1916 buildings located on Henry Place and Moore Street”.