UCD’s plans for a significant expansion to the Belfield campus are to be put on hold after a local resident objected to the planning permission.
The planned works are the first stage of UCD’s “Future Campus” project. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council granted planning permission for the works and an appeal has been lodged against this decision.
The planning application being appealed is seeking approval for the demolition of several buildings, landscaping, a reconfiguration of the campus’ internal road network and the construction of a new arrival plaza at the main gate of the university. The appeal to An Bord Pleanála will put the entire project on hold for at least four months, and the application is on one of three planning applications relating to the first stage of the “Future Campus” project.
The works include a landmark building costing €48 million to be built at the main entrance to UCD on the N11, according to The Irish Independent. The building will be the UCD Centre for Creativity. It’s footprint will be 8000m2, and it will be surrounded by a plaza and reflecting pool. The design was inspired by the Giant’s Causeway in Co Antrim, and the building will feature 49 metre high hexagonal towers built at an angle.
The Herald reported that the resident who appealed the planning permission, Daniel Brennan, claims the entire strategic development plan for the UCD campus should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment. Mr Brennan criticised the plan to cut down 177 trees and the threat it will pose to four species of bat.
The appellant, Mr Brennan, is reported by the Herald to claim that the upper floors in the leaning towers in the Centre for Creativity appear to have little practical use. He described the building as “a form of modern folly”. He described the tilting towers as unnecessary, and was concerned that they will add greatly to the cost as well as to the environmental impact. He says there will be a greater use of both steel and concrete, which will release more carbon into the atmosphere than if the towers were vertical or removed entirely.
The UCD website says the Strategic Development plan 2016-2021-2026 seeks (among other things) to “deliver high architectural quality with a focus on sustainable design that minimises the impact of the campus on the environment.” If it is the case that the building will have a greater impact on the environment than necessary this would seem to contradict this goal.
A decision on the appeal is due by the 11th of November.
Julia Brick – Reporter