A proposed riverside redevelopment of the old iron foundry site in Waterford City has been given an amber light by An Bord Pleanála.
WD Bolster & Son Ltd received planning permission in late 2008 for ‘Water Haven’ – a mixed-use scheme including 395 apartments and a hotel on the 13-acre ‘Stanley’ site at Bilberry.
However, appeals were lodged by the Bowefield Residents Association, Gracedieu Residents Group and Brendan McCann.
Earmarked for the Suir’s south bank west of Rice Bridge, the scheme as envisaged would have seen the demolition of the disused factory buildings and the construction of 11 new blocks in varying heights: the tallest of these an ‘iconic’ 33-storey ‘Njord Tower’.
A 15-storey, 156-bedroom hotel complete with leisure centre, pool and 500-seater conference venue would be augmented outdoors by three marinas with berthing for 80 boats plus a boardwalk and a link to the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway.
In a split decision on the appeals, An Bórd Pleanála went against its own inspector’s initial recommendation that permission be refused on account of an “excessive scale of development”.
The board considered, having regard to its “key opportunity site” zoning and brownfield nature, that, apart from three “overbearing” blocks, the property could accommodate the remainder of the scheme.
The omission of blocks 1 (comprising 23 floors of apartments and 10 floors of offices), 2 (hotel tower) and 3 (auditorium building) would, it said, adequately address the inspector’s concerns with regard to visual impact and micro-climate.
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