An Bord Pleanála blocks Mansfiled’s convention centre

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    • #707017

      An Bord Pleanála blocks convention centre

      21 April 2004 11:42

      An Bord Pleanála has refused permission to property developer Jim Mansfield for a €50 million convention centre beside his Citywest Hotel at Saggart in Dublin.

      South Dublin County Council had granted permission for the centre last November, but the decision was appealed to the board by the heritage group, An Taisce.

      The Board’s inspector recommended upholding the granting of permission, but the board voted by seven to one to reject it.

      Mr Mansfield had carried out considerable work on the site and a large steel frame for the centre is already in place.

      From RTE here

    • #742434

      additional info from RTE Business channel:

      The Board ruled that a centre on the scale planned by Mr Mansfield would be of national and international importance and should be built in a core commercial area, which would be accessible by public transport. The centre would have held 6,000 people.

      Oh and a direct link from ABP’s homepage:

    • #742435

      Did you see the drawings of it today in the Irish Independent? – mock-Georgian rubbish! – like most new-build out there.

      It’s only logical – for social and sustainable land-use and transport reasons – that a national conference centre should be built in the city centre.

    • #742436


      Is the Kevin Roche designed Treasury NCC much smaller (capacity wise) than the one just turned down. Surely if we’re going to build a NCC it should be of suitable size from day one.

      I can see a few years down the line all same arguments again.

    • #742437

      Bord Failte’s requirements for Roche’s one were for a 2000-seat auditorium and a 2000-seat banqueting hall.
      John O’Donoghue now says we could have one by 2007 – where have we heard that before? All focus should be placed on a National CC, the need for such shouldn’t be diluted with rubbish like this.

      Mansfield and Abe Jacobs of South Dublin CC were on on Pat Kenny yesterday – apparently Mansfield went ahead with the building because as the CC hadn’t notified An Taisce, in theory there was one-one else except himself who could object in the appeal period, and so thought he was as good as over the hurdle of planning.
      He wasn’t.

      When it was put to Jacobs that An Bord Pleanala had ruled that ‘it would be inappropriate and impractical’ to control the concurrent use of the existing centre and the one being built – i.e. that the Board didn’t trust either the CC or Mansfield to comply with such a condition, Jacobs initally rejected the inferece, but when pressed on the issue changed the subject.
      He also pointed out that the centre wasn’t entirely car-dependent – citing the Tallaght Luas line being ‘just a mile away’!
      A handy stroll indeed for 6000 delegates.

      Saw the picture too in the Indo – like the Palace of Versailles on Prozac.

    • #742438

      Originally posted by Devin
      Did you see the drawings of it today in the Irish Independent? – mock-Georgian rubbish! – like most new-build out there.

      One of the greatest misconceptions, Mansfield existing barns are not part of the CityWest Campus, he is so to speak a Kling on.

      As for the architectural diagnosis it’s worse than your average mock georgian muck. It’s galvenised cow dung storage with a brick skin!!!

    • #742439
      Paul Clerkin

      we should design an award trophy for “worse design of the year” and send it to him…

    • #742440

      I hear that Jimmy Deenihan FG TD said that it was disgrace that this guy was refused planning permission. He said this at the Fibe Gael Ard Rheis that just so happened to be held at City West. The Politicians bought into Edge City development years ago.

    • #742441

      the best design for an award trophy for “worst design of the year” would be one modelled on the mansfield conference centre.

    • #742442

      From the Sunday Business Post…………

      Misery for Mansfield

      25/04/04 00:00

      By Niamh Connolly

      The steel structures of Jim Mansfield’s part-built convention centre are a testament to the property owners’ determination to realise his dream.

      But Mansfield’s plan for the 6,000-seat facility at the City- West Hotel in Dublin unravelled spectacularly last week when he was refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanala.

      The former truck driver-turned-millionaire machinery trader, property investor, hotelier and airfield owner, is considering a judicial review of the planning process that allowed An Taisce to lodge objections to the


      The former South Dublin City manager, Frank Kavanagh, who began as Mansfield’s planning consultant within days of quitting the Council in 2001, distanced himself from the CityWest debacle this weekend.

      “I would advise Jim of the process and then it’s a matter for Jim to make a decision,” he said.

      Kavanagh said he could not comment on unauthorised development at Weston Aerodrome, owned by Mansfield, as this was now before the High Court.

      Mansfield first announced his €50 million convention centre in an interview with The Sunday Business Post last November.

      His CityWest Hotel development had been the subject of a number of retention applications, but had been completed without legal difficulties. Mansfield has strong Fianna Fail links, and the CityWest Hotel has been the venue for successive Fianna Fail ard fheiseanna.

      The developer was amused that the government’s own national convention centre would cater for only 2,000 delegates.

      “It will take four to five years to build their centre,” he told The Sunday Business Post.

      South Dublin County Council ordered the developer to stop work on the centre until the mandatory deadline for objections had elapsed, after reading of his plans in this newspaper.

      According to senior planning official Abe Jacob, Mansfield was warned that he proceeded with construction at his own peril.

      AnTaisce was last week vindicated by An Bord Pleanala for objecting to Mansfield’s centre.

      An Bord Pleanala ruled the centre would be inappropriately located; would contravene regional planning policies; and was unsustainable due to poor public transport provision.

      In radio phone-ins last week, the public had little sympathy for the business tycoon, hoping the ruling would serve as a warning to developers that planning laws are not just for the “little people”.

      Planning controversies are hardly new to the colourful entrepreneur who bought machinery used in the 1982 Falklands war from the British government at a discount price, and sold it back in Britain for £100 million.

      He can now expect the local authorities and An Bord Pleanala to turn its attention to other projects with which he is associated.

      Mansfield is embroiled in a High Court action taken by South Dublin County Council over unauthorised developments at Weston Aerodrome in Lucan, Co Dublin.

      South Dublin County Council was informed last week that Weston has not complied with a requirement to halt further works to the end of the runway.

      As reported in this newspaper, EU ministers were escorted by the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, to lunch at Mansfield’s country estate, Palmerstown House, near Naas in County Kildare.

      The historic 600-acre demesne is also the subject of a probe by An Bord Pleanala into unauthorised development.

      Mansfield constructed an 18-hole golf course on 200 acres of the 600-acre estate without first receiving planning permission. He was called to appear before an oral hearing of An Bord Pleanala in March.

      Kildare County Council had granted Mansfield permission to retain the unauthorised golf course in October. Three separate parties, including An Taisce, complained to An Bord Pleanala, which is to make a ruling on May 13.

      The golf course forms part of a wider plan by Mansfield for a 2,600-seat conference centre, a 278-bedroom hotel, 59 detached houses and 65 golf resort houses passed by Kildare County Council.

      An Taisce believes the development breaches planning and EU Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, and will compromise and endanger the landscape and historic qualities of the listed house.

      Separately, a complaint has been lodged with Kildare County Council about the unauthorised demolition and reconstruction by Mansfield of a building that forms part of Palmerstown House’s protected structure.

      Mansfield’s plan for a private day hospital on the grounds of Palmerstown House includes a three storey over-basement building, 351 car spaces and two new access entrances.

      It has been objected to by a number of parties, including Labour’s Kildare North TD Emmet Stagg.

      McCreevy said in the Dail that he had introduced tax break for private hospital developers in response to lobbying by constituents from Kildare.

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    • #742443

      Originally posted by anto
      I hear that Jimmy Deenihan FG TD said that it was disgrace that this guy was refused planning permission. He said this at the Fibe Gael Ard Rheis that just so happened to be held at City West. The Politicians bought into Edge City development years ago.

      All political parties have gombeens and Deenehan fullfills this along with Michael Ring for Fine Gael, Fine Gael haven’t won a seat in Kerry south since 1987 and had not held a seat in Kerry North between 1970 and 1987, hence Kerry Footballer from the four in a row team is drafted in to win an unwinnable seat.

      It was a terrible comment and no doubt is another indication of the lack of respect for the planning process in the county of the Section 104. Beware Jackie you are having your ground usurped.:rolleyes:

    • #742444

      Ian Lumley of AT (wasn’t it he who objected) will be on Q & A tonight at 10.30.

    • #742445

      IL got drowned in pre local election one-off housing posturing by all the other panelists and Bowman did little to rescue him.

      The only time he gained ground was when he talked about PrimeTime and enforcement.

      Bowman said lots of calls supporting An Taisce came in during the show though.

    • #742446

      he’s a bit hopeless though, this Ian Lumley chap…….

    • #742447

      Dunno about that.
      His work output is pretty phenomenal.
      His employers – the Council of An Taisce are in a mess so they seem to give no direction.
      The organisation is broke.
      Sure IL could benefit from some media training if he is going to be put out as the main An Taaisce spokesman but “hopeless”? not fair in my opinion.

    • #742448

      Ok bit harsh, but his not the greatest media performer. I still feel an T should be trying to bring people on board by persuading intead of sounding so dogmatic.

    • #742449

      Originally posted by anto
      he’s a bit hopeless though, this Ian Lumley chap…….

      Ian is definitely not a Prime Time specialist but is probably the leading Heritage officer in the country. It was ill considered by An Taisce to put him on the show as he is too honest a guy for the rough and tumble of psuedo- political tv discussion.

      I was delighted to see Shirly back in the fold (in the audience) if only John Bowler was there to take Ian’s place on the panel, the points landed by last weeks prime time could have been driven home. But Cullen acheived what hew set out to do, force an error in the cutting of head count when MORE staff were required.

    • #742450

      What a disaster, the second I saw the rest of the panel – oh dear, it was going to be a rough ride.
      Ian is undoubtedly a highly experienced and intellegent man, but clearly incapable of engaging successfully in populist discussion.
      Time and time again, AT fails to put across arguements people can relate to, whilst every other panelist on every programme walks over them with populist ‘in-touch-with-the-common-guy’ nonsense.
      It doesn’t serve AT, but more importantly it doesn’t serve their arguements or rural Ireland.
      Every, every, single time it ends up in the same old rut – with the exception of the last Prime Time – why can’t they learn?
      It’s such as a shame to see.
      They must engage in debate the same way as everyone else: bullet points, bullet points, bullet points – and defend vigourously.

    • #742451

      Originally posted by Graham Hickey
      Every, every, single time it ends up in the same old rut – with the exception of the last Prime Time – why can’t they learn?
      It’s such as a shame to see.
      They must engage in debate the same way as everyone else: bullet points, bullet points, bullet points – and defend vigourously.

      So true.

      1> City West

      2> Holiday Homes

      3> Strategic planning

      4> We work With MBNA

      5> The other panalists face election in 6 weeks.

    • #742452

      4> We work With MBNA

    • #742453

      Originally posted by anto
      4> We work With MBNA

      The central objectionlevelled at An Taisce by the questioner was that ‘An Taisce was anti-Leitrim’ by submitting ‘an objection’ to MBNA’s initial planning application.

      This was clarrified to be a situation where An Taisce had objected to the original traffic manangement strategy for the MBNA buildings and where An Taisce are still working with MBNA to advise on parking strategies for their various expansions.
      Nobody in An Taisce wished to see Leitrim loose such footloose jobs that could just as easily have gone to Eastern Europe.

      The questioner was as mis-informed and polemical as is usual when An Taisce is in the dock.

      Denis O’Donovans assertion that Dick Spring had given An Taisce statutory powers in 1983 was also incorrect, he had yet to drop the ball playing for Ireland yet when Neil Blaney of Fianna Fail granted them to An Taisce in 1963.

    • #742454

      They must engage in debate the same way as everyone else: bullet points, bullet points, bullet points – and defend vigourously.

      The political parties have all had expensive media training by Carr Communications. An Taisce is a charity so it can’t afford that. But if you’re controversial like An Taisce, you’re going to be asked onto things like Q & A. You can’t just keep saying no cos you haven’t had media training. You have to make the best of it.

    • #742455

      Of course – they shouldn’t refuse an opportunity like this, the more the better – but it is common sense to keep things simple and to the point.
      One of ATs biggest problems is dealing with issues that require explanation and in-depth debate.
      Clearly Q & A is anything but an adequate forum, or Prime Time, but at least an effort could have been made to be clear and concise and as comprehensive as possible, instead of being sucked into the time wasting ‘responding period’ which is exactly what all the other panelists want – nit-picking over crumbs. Rather, members should simply set ATs agenda and ingore the more petty of allegations made by others.

      It is farcical that the same situations can be predicted every time, and yet nothing changes in ATs approach. The fact that any of the AT members here can clearly argue articulately and comprehensively, but are restricted to the internet, whilst the big guns make a mess of it in front of 250,000 viewers is even more ludicrous.
      Considering how frustrating it is for me to watch such games, I can only imagine what it’s like for AT members – they must be mortified.

    • #742456

      I agree with Graham, if An Taisce were to do only one thing this year it should be to hire a PR officer with consultancy abilities.
      The last thing that An Taisce needs is to put a heritage expert up to be out spun by second rate politicians.

      With the Prime Time and City West issues on their side a suitable professional could really have made the same panel sweat, instead of being technically correct but being out spun.

      An Taisce should be very proud of Ian Lumely he has served the organisation as only a man of his ability and work ethic could, but TV is not his medium.

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