PLANNING PERMISSION FOR A SCIENCE CENTRE FOR CHILDREN WAS GRANTED IN 2016 [MAJOR IMPACT ON IVEAGH GARDENS]
In 2016 the Office of Public Works publishing a planning application for a large development which will be in the old north wing of the National Concert Hall. The centre is designed to appeal to children aged between 4 and 16, but it should attract up to 150,000 visitors of all ages per year when works are completed in 2018
What many people had not noticed was the development would impact on the much loved Iveagh Gardens. However, even thought it may bee too late, an appeal to protect the public park is now ongoing.
The former real tennis court building close to the concert hall’s north wing is to be used for temporary and visiting exhibitors, with a tunnel connecting it to a new science centre. The original plan prompted appeals from sporting and historical preservation groups who were dismayed by the proposed use of the Real Tennis Building as a space for visiting exhibitions and as a result of objections conditions attached to the permission granted by the board mean that original elements of the court constructed by the Guinness family in 1884 will have to be preserved.
Among the thirteen conditions imposed was a requirement for a plan of where the bronze statue of internationally renowned Irish tenor Count John McCormack will be placed, as it will have to be moved from its current location in the Iveagh Gardens during construction.
The planning report acknowledges that some mature trees will also have to be removed from the park to accommodate the new centre, which will also be known as the Exploration Station. However, I have been informed by some protesters that the old wall separating the gardens from the concert hall will be removed. The development may also harm bats which live in the wall in which case the OPW will need a special derogation from the National Parks and Wildlife Service “for their removal”.