A Southside environmental group says it is trying to obtain documents relating to the planning process surrounding the U2 Tower in a bid to stop the development. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is currently seeking expressions of interest from 'world-class' development teams to compete for the opportunity to design, construct and finance the new U2 Tower at Grand Canal Dock.
To the chagrin of locals in Ringsend, the development, which would be carried out by the DDDA, is exempt from the normal planning process and there is no means of making an appeal against the proposals.
However, a spokesperson for the Ringsend Environmental Group, Damien Cassidy, said that although he has been informed by the Department of the Environment that there is no appeals process, he still intends appealing the decision to the European Commission.
Last month, the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche TD, approved an increase in the height of the U2 Tower to 100 metres, after initial proposals for the tower suggested that it be 60 metres.
Mr Cassidy said he is opposing the fact that the height of the tower was extended without any public consultation and that there is no appeals process.
"There is a way of taking it to the European Commission on the grounds that it is overshadowing a village and that it is not in accordance with good planning," he said.
Mr Cassidy said he was also opposed to to the development on the basis that the height of the tower could cut sunlight on the entire village of Ringsend during twilight hours.
"I am talking about the shading of Ringsend," he said. "With the sun setting in the west, that means that you won't see a sunset in the village of Ringsend.
"There has been absolutely no consultation with locals about this development," he added.
The landmark tower, which will become the tallest building in Ireland at 100 metres, will be constructed in conjunction with the adjacent Britain Quay Development and will house rock band U2's new recording studios.
The band has been in discussion with the docklands authority on the project since 2001, when the authority sought to purchase U2's studio at Hanover Quay to allow public amenity works relating to the Grand Canal Harbour development.
It is expected that the successful development team will be selected in 2007 and the construction of the tower will commence in 2008.
The U2 Tower will consist of approximately 20,000 square metres of mainly residential space, while the Britain Quay Development will be 11,500 square metres containing a mix of leisure, residential, commercial, arts and culture uses.
The top two floors of the U2 Tower will contain the exclusive recording studios for the band.
Both developments will rise at the confluence of three waterways, the River Liffey, River Dodder and Grand Canal, and will be served by specially designed boardwalks and marinas.
Lar Bradshaw, chairman of the DDDA, said that the tower is one of the most significant architectural projects to be delivered in the regeneration of the docklands.
"Combined with the recently approved planning scheme for a 100 metre tower on the Northside of the Liffey, the U2 Tower will form a dramatic architectural gateway into Dublin city," Mr Bradshaw said.
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