20 May 2008

I’ve said it before and I’m sure the awful local authorities will present me with plenty of opportunity to say it again but if you’re an ordinary citizen and you happen to own a Protected Structure some bozo in planning will give you grief because you didn’t hire expert advice before you attempted to repair your leaky gutter. However, if you’re the owner of a Protected Structure and you happen to be some Semi State organisation different rules apply.

I’m indebted to Cllr. Killian Forde of Fingal County Council for bringing to my attention the latest example of how civil-service-minded the planners can be on this issue when it suits them:

Iarnród Éireann owns a small, 19th century stationmaster’s house near Donaghmede in Dublin. The building has been vandalised in recent years and locals claim it’s a bit of an eyesore. However, as it is a Protected Structure, Iarnród Éireann has a responsibility to maintain it, adhering to the agreed principles of building conservation in so doing. The locomotive organisation isn’t mad keen on making the effort – to their way of thinking, if Fingal County Council would simply de-list the building, they could demolish it and the problem would go away. Mmm…

Despite Killian repeatedly bringing the matter to its attention, Fingal Council hasn’t used the considerable powers it has at its disposal to force Iarnród Éireann to comply with the legislation regarding the care of Protected Structures. They say they’re ‘doing all they can’ (it’s amazing how, as a concept, ‘all they can’ can mean so many things is in so many different Local Authority situations).

Click on the link for the full story: http://www.dublinpeople.com:80/content/view/475/57/  

(Killian, if you get a chance, you might send on a photo of the building in question. I'm sure we'd all love to see it.)

If you’re not a State/Semi State body, the only time when the local authority is unlikely to give you grief about your Protected Structure is when it’s really really big, in a really bad way and when you (the owner) don’t have the money to fix it. When this happens, the Local Authority is obliged under the legislation to get themselves involved. Problem is, if they do, it’s likely to cost them lots and lots of money.

Which is the scenario facing Waterford County Council with the amazing 19th century cotton mill in Portlaw - one of the few genuinely interesting buildings in the whole country. For many years now, the Council has managed, despite commitments to the contrary, not to do the right and proper thing and acquire the site with a view to having it returned to proper use. 


This is what the Portlaw mill looked like in 2001. Its in worse condition now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:38:05 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
We could mention Dominick Street, but I'd get too upset........
Colm Cantillon
Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:57:06 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Fill me Colm, Is that building still lying idle?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:10:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Yes, this "wonderful" protected structure is still lying idle and rapidly disintegrating. Actually by not allowing us to develop the site our glorious leaders have achieved the opposite of their intentions and now the building is falling to pieces as it is afforded no protection what so ever. The road to hell as we all know............
Colm Cantillon
Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:09:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Yip, I'll I have to do a fresh post about this one. It really, really was a scandal - you know, Colm, that the DoE person assigned to the project who took the case to an Bord never even visited the site?

I'm thinking of doing a round-up of Protected Structures for which planning permission was refused to see what's happened to them. Unlike the DoE person, I'll actually go have a look.
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