The Dublin Horse Show may be moved from its traditional home, the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) venue in Ballsbridge, if permission for a E100m office development on RDS land is rejected.
A warning to that effect was delivered by the RDS last week to an Irish Planning Board appeal hearing into the project, which entails five multi-storey office blocks, new competitor facilities, stables and paddocks. Speaking for the RDS, planning consultant Bernard McHugh said that the development would secure its future in Ballsbridge.
The society needs a sustainable source of income to fund E26m-worth of improvements to stands and facilities, he said. If permission was refused, the RDS would have to sell its land and move to another location – taking the Dublin Horse Show with it.
Dublin City Council has already granted planning permission. But more than 40 residents’ groups, in what is one of Dublin’s most upmarket areas, are challenging the permission, mainly on amenity and environmental grounds.
Other objectors include the Irish conservation group An Taisce, and a local enclosed order of nuns, who claim the office complex will compromise their privacy.
At last week’s hearing, the counsel for An Taisce, Colm MacEochaidh, claimed that the RDS was a wealthy and profitable body, and accused it of attempting “economic blackmail” by threatening to sell up and move out.
Planning inspector James Carroll, who presided at the hearing, will announce his decision on the appeal by the end of September.