I have submitted the following objection to the planning application to build an extra 2 stories onto the Porto Fino building between Harbour Road and Church St.
30th March 2007
Fingal County Council,
Re: Planning application F07A/0266
The primary objection is the fact that the proposal would block the views of the Harbour and out to sea from the public realm of St. Lawrence’s Road, Howth Terrace, and Dunbo Hill.
The views out from the residential streets of Howth to the Harbour and the sea are an essential element of the character of Howth. For residents as well as visitors they are vital views, opening the tightly-built streets of the village to the sea. They are of practical significance for people watching activity in the Harbour. As someone who lives on St. Lawrence’s Road, I know how important the views down to the Harbour are to the local community. We notice which fishing trawlers are in the Harbour, note the comings and goings of the Asgard 2. We note the shifting tide levels against the Harbour walls, and the condition of the seas beyond.
The view across no 53 Church St. from Howth Terrace / St. Lawrence’s Road is the only similar view in Howth. Other views down to the Harbour are from a greater distance and don’t look down into the Harbour as steeply. Abbey St. the other main access route down to the Harbour has no such views.
This view is recognised and protected in the Statement of Character for the Howth Architectural Conservation Area. There is a photograph of it in Figure 10 and it is marked on the annotated map in Figure 14 as a panoramic view.
The Statement of Character says (page 24)
Preservation of views. The key views out of the village such as those at Howth Terrace, Church Street, Thormanby Road, Main Street Upper and from the Martello Tower should be preserved and any works within the ACA should not adversely impact or block these views.
It is notable that the application contains no assessment of the impact of the proposal on these views. However, it’s impact is clear and it is in direct breach of this objective.
The Council has already recognised the importance of views from the town to the Harbour in relation to the St. Lawrence Quay apartment development to the east of this site. In that instance, the Council required that the developer put a break in the building at the location traditionally used as a viewing point out over the Harbour. (This application is possibly F94A/0362, although I cannot get into this file on the web-based planning system.)
Is mise, le meas,
Cllr. David Healy