UCD President Andrew Deeks may have to wait a little longer for a new office because of bats.

The Tribune reported in Issue 4 that UCD was spending hundreds of thousands of euro to plan the renovation of Ardmore House as part of an overall HR project. The move will see Deeks’ office transfer out of the Tierney Building, so that UCD HR can move into it from its current location in Roebuck. After months of planning, UCD applied to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on the 8th December 2017 to begin the demolition and rebuilding of part of Ardmore House.

The observation period for interested parties to make a submission to the Council in advance of its decision closed this Monday, the 22nd January. Since Ardmore House is a protected structure, any proposed alteration to it is automatically forwarded by the planning authority to the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaelteacht under Article 28 (1) (c) of the Planning Regulations 2001.

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It has now been revealed that the Department was in touch about the application, in a letter just published by the Council. The Department wrote that UCD should be requested to ‘submit as Further Information a bat survey’ of Ardmore House. It should be sent on to the Department ‘for comment together with mitigation measures to maintain whatever current bat usage of the site is revealed by the bat survey.’ Bats are protected under a European Council Directive.

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland, also wrote to the Council to state it had accepted the conclusions from the Architectural Heritage Assessment. It hopes that any grant of planning permission would be subject to a condition that the work is supervised by a specialist conservation architect.

The Council will likely request a survey be carried out before making a decision, which would put back its verdict by a few weeks. Deeks wants the project completed by the end of the year.

Cian Carton – Editor

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