Council moves to place eyesore pub on derelict sites register
on 11/09/2013 00:00:00
City manager Tim Lucey has confirmed that work has started on the legal process to place the former Crow's Nest pub at Victoria Cross, and several adjoining properties, on the city's derelict sites register.
The move will give the city greater powers to compel the site's owners to tackle the blighted building. The city could even acquire the site compulsorily and level it.
Mr Lucey confirmed the move at Monday's city council meeting after local Fine Gael Cllr Brian Bermingham asked for an update on the site which has lain derelict for several years.
The once-successful pub, located in the shadow of County Hall, was for years a favoured haunt of local politicians and senior county council officials.
Fire broke out in the pub's kitchen in 2005 causing extensive internal and roof damage. The bar closed for renovations but never reopened. Within a year, its owners sought and were granted planning permission for a 15-storey student apartment block, which was subsequently shot down by An Bord Pleanála. The pub was boarded up and wire fencing installed around its perimeter as its structural condition worsened.
However, another planning application for the site came in 2009 when Barry O'Connor and Robert Kennedy were granted conditional planning for the demolition of the pub and the adjoining terrace of houses for the construction of a 69-unit mixed use student apartment complex.
They appealed some of the conditions to An Bord Pleanála but as the property bubble burst, they withdrew the appeal in 2010. The site has lain derelict since. Weeds and trees are growing from the building's roof.
Mr Lucey said city officials have made every effort to engage with the owners of the site to resolve the matter.
"But the problems still continue on site," he said.
"As a result, it has been decided to place the former Crow's Nest pub and numbers 1-4 Victoria Terrace on the derelict sites register. Mapping and documentation has been prepared and is being sent to the property edition for placing on the register. Once this process is complete, the derelict sites legislation will be further used to try to bring a resolution to this matter."
Community activist, Mick Murphy, who led a campaign against high-rise student apartments in the western suburbs during the height of building boom, welcomed the council's move.
"Local authorities have an obligation to ensure that no site within its administrative area should become or remain derelict so I'm delighted that the council is finally moving on this," he said.
It is understood the council had to wait until the planning permission expired on the site before it could act.
The move on the Crow's Nest site comes several months after Mr Lucey announced a renewed effort to tackle dereliction across the city.
In Mar 2012, his officials identified some 140 properties across the city at various stages of dereliction.
A total of 24 were placed on the council's derelict sites register, and four were compulsorily acquired by the city council.
Mr Lucey said the compulsory acquisition of derelict sites is a "last resort" and only follows an exploration of all options available to the council.
A survey in June on the worst urban blight blackspots in the city found that some retail premises have been vacant for up to five years.
The Capitol Cinema site is now regarded as one of the city's worst dereliction blackspots.