There's been something of a planning soap opera recently, played out between Marks and Spencer and DCC regarding alterations to their store - specifically in relation to a (shock!) proposed pavilion storey and roof-top terrace.
After submitting decidely inadequate plans and photomontages of the proposed development, M&S's clients were then asked for Further Information, which was duly supplied and in turn found to be equally inadequate and indeed inaccurate. So a relatively unusual Clarification of Additional Information request was then made, and was replied to shortly afterwards. Even this
was deemed by the case planner to be inaccurate in part, but was considered sufficient to assess the proposal and make a decision. It was passed, subject to a number of conditions.
Personally I found it a thoroughly objectionable development as originally proposed, given it impacts on the single most important (and lets face it, the only half decent) view of Grafton Street, and what is largely the only vista in the city with a 'continental' feel to it, generated by none other than the Marks and Spencers premises.
It looks and feels like it's been plucked from the centre of Prague or a side street in St. Petersburg, and adds texture and visual interest to the thoroughfare with its distinctive rounded corner. For this monstrous pile of clutter to be dumped on top of its urn-peppered parapet would be devastating blow to the vernacular character of the street.
The planner pretty much acknowledges this, claiming there are "a number of concerns with regard to the potential impact of the proposed additional accommodation on the streetscape of what is an ACA and protected structure. The supplied photomontages do indicate that there are a number of elements of the proposed development that would clearly be visible from street level. In particular, it is my opinion that the proposed north west corner of the building in the vicinity of the proposed terrace area has the potential to have a significantly negative impact on the streetscape due to excessive proximity to the parapet of the building thereby resulting in the potentially prominent views of the proposed extension above the existing parapet line... In summary, while glimpsed views are acceptable and unavoidable. it is considered that the overall visual impact of the development as currently proposed would be excessive and have a significant negative impact on the character and setting of the building and the general streetscape."
The conclusion went on to recommend a set back of four metres from the parapet which was later granted. What sort of impact this would have is unclear, nor is that of the proposed glazed balustrade and its location.
The roof terrace, with sweeping views over the um, enchanting roofscape of Brown Thomas...
Nice idea, but excessively intrusive as originally proposed at least.