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Success to beat the band may be key to saving U2 studio

Posted on Wednesday, January 09 @ 04:22:03 CET by Macphisto

(Irish Independent) -- SUPERGROUP U2 have cited multi-million record sales and musical heritage in their case against the compulsory demolition of their recording studios.

The first ever pop planning battle could see U2 members in action at the Gresham Hotel in a fortnight when a Bord Pleanala oral hearing gets underway into objections by the group and their manager Paul McGuinness to the planned compulsory purchase on the Dublin southside docks studios.

In their formal objection made in the names of Adam Clayton, David Evans, Paul Hewson, Laurence Mullen and Paul McGuinness, the band say they have been recording albums at the Hanover Quay premises since about 1994.

This was well in advance of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) which has served a compulsory purchase notice on the studies for a quayside public amenity.

According to the nine-page submission, their latest album 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' was recorded at the studio and has sold over 10m copies.

The band say they have been recording in the docklands area since the early 1980s at studios in Windmill Lane, prior to the move to Hanover Quay.

U2 insist that the present use of the premises is entirely in accordance with both the corporation's development proposals and the DDDA master plan.

According to the submission, keeping the buildings and structures was not inconsistent with the creation of a public amenity area. Although the premises would not qualify as a protected structure, a strong case could be made for its retention as "as an element in the recognised music-recording heritage of the area".

They say they are the owners of the 400 sq metre single-storey plus mezzanine building located at the dockside and that it is a converted former warehouse. The land is subject to a 35-year lease in favour of U2. Another objection by businessman Harry Crosbie, who owns adjoining buildings, says the compulsory acquisition was not necessary and that the order did not specify the purpose.

The DDDA in placing the CPO said it wanted people to have access to the waterways and these were currently cut off because of the buildings.

U2 manager Paul McGuinness has said the band had strong feelings about the building and that they were not going to let anyone knock it down without a big fight. The DDDA have said the buildings were not particularly pleasant looking.

The oral hearing is to be conducted by Padraig Thornton, a planning inspector with Bord Pleanala. It will be held on January 29 at 11am in the Gresham Hotel, O'Connell St.

Treacy Hogan, Environment Correspondent

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