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The proposed sign, which was to be internally illuminated, would have been erected in the pavement adjacent to the main entrance of the hospital.
The proposal had already been refused permission by the local planning authority, which had considered that the sign would be visually obtrusive, and when taken together with the existing and proposed signage subject to the concurrent applications would lead to visual clutter.
In its appeal, the Mater Hospital stated that the signage is necessary and it would contribute to road safety as well as would improve the traffic flow by providing clear information.
When assessing the case, the inspector for an Bord Pleanala was not convinced that there was any rationale, justification or specific need demonstrated for such a dominant sign, expressing concern that the display panel appeared to be larger than any directional symbol that would be provided on it.
“Particularly in a streetscape context that is already saturated at this point with signage and street furniture alongside already contains a number of simple as well as effective parking directional signs,” according to the inspector’s report.
“Moreover, the design of the proposed panel, if permitted, would visually overwhelm as well as obscure some of the existing signage and essential traffic calming devices in its immediate vicinity.”
In addition, the inspector wrote that the sign would obscure views to the east of it towards the real time bus information sign, which is located to the west of the proposed development as a result of its height and positioning.
“As such I concur with the planning Authority in relation to their visual amenity concerns and I also concur that this was sufficient reason in its own right to refuse the proposed development,” according to the inspector.
“In relation to the matter of road safety I also raise a concern that the proposed development, if permitted, has the potential to reduce the convenience of this stretch of public footpath by way of it resulting in an additional obstruction for users and I am not convinced that this particular stretch of public realm whose primary function is the safe passage of pedestrians can accommodate any additional unnecessary insertions.”