Great story â€“ canâ€™t imagine thereâ€™s many freeholds of entire towns left nowadays!
There should be a good many vacant sites and wasteland about the place with a certain value â€“ itâ€™ll be interesting to see what crops up, and what the overall freehold sells for. Iâ€™d love to know what houses still pay ground rent, and indeed if they actually pay it!
In other Dundalk news, Murray O'Laoireâ€™s private hospital to the north of Dundalk has been rejected outright by ABP; the project has effectively been stunted as currently sited.
The 100 bed hospital was rejected on numerous grounds, all relating to the location, including the areaâ€™s zoning â€œto protect the scenic quality of the landscape and facilitate development required to sustain the existing local rural communityâ€. The Board considered the development to be â€œvisually intrusiveâ€ and â€œcontravene materially the zoning objective of the county development planâ€.
The building was also to be built on a flood plain in a location without municipal sewage, and this flood plain of Dundalk Bay a proposed SAC. APB also citied very rightly the hospitalâ€™s ridiculously isolated location which would be entirely car dependent, difficult to access due to its remoteness, and equally so for those only with access to public transport - which would also be my main objection to an otherwise impressive-looking proposal.
Councillors had earlier voted by 15 to 9 in favour of rezoning the site to permit the hospital to go ahead, but they needed a two thirds majority for it to pass, so failed. It was for this reason that the hospital developers lodged an appeal to ABP. Louth County Planning have indicated that they would have permitted the development, describing it as consistent with proper planning of Dundalk as a gateway etc. But itâ€™s not even in Dundalk! This NSS gets more ridiculous by the day â€“ far from being used as a blueprint for consolidated development, itâ€™s being used for exactly the opposite!
In other news, one of the countryâ€™s tallest buildings is quietly nearing topping out stage (this time in
Dundalk) at the entrance to the town right behind Carrollâ€™s. The 14 storey, 140 bedroom, four star Crowne Plaza Hotel appears to be one of the few tall buildings on the island to have sailed through the planning process, even in spite of its location within yards of the protected Carrollâ€™s Factory.
Itâ€™s designed by the ever-expanding Van Dijk Architects, one of the largest architectural practices in the country now, based in Dundalk.
Â©Van Dijk Architects
I like it. Itâ€™s more stunted looking there than the tall elegant concrete frame we can see at the minute, but itâ€™s still nicely proportioned and detailed â€“ excellent finishing by the looks of things. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see how that high contrast glazing turns out. The building holds an imposing presence where it is sited, closing the vista of the approach road from the M1 into the town. It does detract to a degree from Carrollâ€™s in that the sprawling complex has now lost its dominance in the area, but the hotel doesnâ€™t actually impinge on views of the building when going north into the town. Exiting southwards however and it looms over it like Liberty Hall to the Custom Houseâ€¦
You can see its rough positioning here on this aerial view, marked in blue, with Carrollâ€™s being the white-roofed building in front:
The hotel is part of a broader scheme which was permitted by a land swap by DKIT in exchange for student facilities. So not only is the hotel going in, but also this small-scale business campus fronting the bypass (with highly tailored pools of water suspiciously similar to Carrollâ€™s), and a host of student accommodation buildings to the right which seem very well-designed, hopefully of the same white brick as the recent additions to the DKIT campus.
Ample provision for student parking of course
A sports centre and student services is going in to the buildings marked 3 and 4 according to the local paper. I presume
none of this encroaches on views of Carrollâ€™s from the N1â€¦