CrystalWestAn Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission for a major inner-city construction project in Waterford – but another much bigger scheme could start next year.

Dr Gerard O’Hare, MD of Parker Green International – the company also behind the proposed €300m ‘Crystal West Lifestyle Village’ at Ballinaneesagh – had appealed the local Council’s decision last December to refuse the mixed-used development at the junction of High Street and Exchange Street, including 68 apartments and commercial space.

In upholding the local authority’s arguments, ABP said the inappropriate design, and excessive scale, bulk and height of the proposed development – which would range from 5-7 storeys – would adversely affect the character, setting, distinctiveness and special interest of neighbouring protected structures and the ‘South Quays’/‘Trinity Within’ Architectural Conservation Areas. It would also constitute overdevelopment of the site, and fail to enhance the retail function and attractiveness of this principal shopping area.

Responding to the ruling, the company said it is working with its professional advisors on “a viable and attractive” future use for the site which it recognises as having considerable development potential.

In Chicago yesterday to receive a prestigious award

from Lambda Alpha International, the Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics, Dr O’Hare was originally partnered with another developer on the city centre project, but Parker Green International now have sole control of the site.

As for their 13.8ha Cork Road land-bank, the company says that despite the economic climate it is “continuing to pursue” its ambitious plans for the playing pitches purchased from Waterford Crystal for €33m over four years ago. Newry-based PGI is “confident of proceeding in 2010” with the initial phase of the high-quality retail and leisure scheme – including warehousing, a hotel, cinema, conference centre, offices and polyclinic – for which planning permission was granted in June of last year. Hundreds of jobs would be created in developing the complex which is modelled on American archetypes.