These are extremely worthwhile initiatives and deserving of much wider promotion.
But seriously, what a lazy, misleading article from The Irish Times.
Firstly, in a piece almost entirely about Protected Structures, the term ‘conservation architect’ wasn’t used once, the omission even extending to the Grade II services provided by the architectural practice interviewed!
Secondly, since when have Masterplan Associates been known to specialise in historic building conversions? Nabbing a ‘chocolate factory’ on Merrion Square, a handful of mews and suburban house jobs, and facilitating the likes of below hardly puts you up there as an authority on innovative solutions to Protected Structure adaptation.
A handsome set of Edwardian houses on Victoria Road in Rathgar.
And the same houses which Masterplan Associates facilitated the omission of chimneys from in a retention application.
Granted, after they had already had a Todd Architects sledgehammer applied. And this in a Conservation Area! I don’t know who’s worse – the architects, the consultant planners, or the publicly employed planners. What a disaster.
The managing director of Masterplan goes on to state, as if he can’t believe his own luck: “We have never been refused permission and we’ve done lots of them,”
says Kim.” “The more units you try and get, the more difficult,”
Kim says. But we’ll try our darnedest for ya.
Kim also says: “You should be aware that if it’s protected it absolutely will cost you more to refurbish, as you have to use traditional construction methods”.
What a preposterous, sweeping and plainly inaccurate statement. Thanks Jong, Protector of The Heritage.
One also imagines the first year planning student’s favoured tool in the kit: “A planning search is recommended in the early days to see if anyone has been refused permission to convert before you go down the road of buying the property”
– came from this direction.
Then the journalist herself, of the 'paper of record', goes on to spout cringe-inducing phrases like: “These grants can be used not just for Georgian buildings, but also protected buildings”.
Imagine! There are buildings other than Geoooooorgian
dolls houses that are of special interest!
She then continues: “Dublin City Council has agreed to waive development levies charges on those converting historic buildings within the South Georgian Core from commercial to residential.”
Eh, I think you’ll find that’s every Protected Structure in the entire Dublin City Council administrative area, never mind across the State. Unbelievable.
She then consolidates it with the utterly misleading case of development levies being applied to the conversion of a Victorian pile on 37 Northumberland Road from commercial to residential in 2011. If she’d even bothered to look, the grand finale of her piece would have fallen flat on its face. No.37 is a Protected Structure and therefore exempt from levies under the current regime. The current regime was introduced as part of national planning guidelines published in 2012.
The icing on the cake is asking Masterplan Associates - not the conservation architect Grade II - to notionally redesign a pair of highly significant, 1740s, former gabled-fronted Dutch Billys on St. Stephen’s Green into single family home, mixed use and multiple-unit options! They wouldn’t know a baluster from a barrister. Speaking of which, I’d better shut up.
Lord, trash like this really gets up my nose.