Re: Re: Archer’s Garage

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Developer faces fine of €13m

Probe underway after early morning convent demolition

A developer has illegally demolished a 19th century convent which was in the process of becoming a listed building.

Homebuilders Kimpton Vale Ltd razed the building on November 5, just two weeks after Dublin City Council began the process of adding the Presentation convent in Terenure to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

© Irish Independent

And the company faces fines of up to €12.7m after the illegal demolition. Yesterday, the council confirmed the destruction of the building was unauthorised, and that enforcement proceedings have begun.

The convent was part of a three-acre site on Terenure Road West which was sold in April for over €15m. On October 18, Labour councillor John Gallagher proposed it be added to the RPS, which was agreed by councillors. But just over two weeks later, workers employed by the developer began to bulldoze the convent at 7am on a Saturday.

By the time council inspectors arrived on site two hours later, most of the building was gone. A decision was taken to allow the remainder of the building to be destroyed, as it posed a danger to the public.

© Irish Independent

“Two notices have been served on the developer,” a council spokesman confirmed. “It is an unauthorised development. It had been proposed to list the building; the difficulty for us was the developer went in before the process was complete.”

“We had a dangerous building inspector on site on the Saturday morning. By the time he arrived, it (the convent) was half demolished. In the interests of public safety, the remainder was demolished.”

The enforcement proceedings are being taken under the 2000 Planning and Development Act, which states: “Any person who, without lawful authority, causes damage to a protected structure or a proposed protected structure shall be guilty of an offence.” The council can insist the building is reinstated, or issue a fine of up to €1,900. But if it decides to take legal action, a court can impose a fine of up to €12.7m. “I’m disappointed it was done when discussions were ongoing with the council,” Mr Gallagher said last night.

“The ultimate sanction for demolishing a habitable house is reinstatement. The building is gone, and the developer shouldn’t get away with it. There’s a procedure and it should be followed.

“There should be some standard that applies, the procedure should not be to knock the building.

“It’s a fine building, and should be considered part of the city’s heritage.”

City managers have previously forced developers to reinstate buildings after they were illegally destroyed. In 1999, the Art Deco Archer’s Garage on Fenian Street was razed, but the council forced the developer to rebuild it.

It was unclear last night if the developer was told the building was to be listed. Kimpton Vale were not available for comment.

Paul Melia

© Irish Independent

So the practice rumbles on. At least local authorities have teeth nowadays – including that essential protective provision of the inclusion of proposed protected structures in the 2000 Act. The same also applies to proposed Architectural Consevation Areas. What’s most astonishing about this case is the notion that the developer thought they could get away with this in 2006. Sure half the non-professional poeple on this website alone could tell him the council would be on his back before he got out of bed that morning.
It’s possible they had no idea – though the 7am start on a Saturday perhaps says otherwise.

As much as it’s a punishment for developers on such insanely valuable sites, the rebuilding of one-off structures like this seems rather fruitless to me. The fabric has been lost. Of course if the underlying idea in this case was to demolish and be ‘forced’ to rebuild the basic structure but to a modern interior standard, and without any of the hassle of converting PS, they’ve achieved their aim. Hopefully the fine will hit hard.

I remember hearing about this. My sister came home with it as a roumer from school. Couldn’t believe it. The place is still a building site, however the school next door (presentation primary, dating from 1889 just like the convent) has managed to gain an extra couple of classrooms on the site of the former convent

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