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A big developer wants to build 200 homes on the site of Dublin's second-most expensive house

Chesterfield House in Blackrock was bought in 2004 for €47 million.

Image: Cairn Homes

A MAJOR HOUSEBUILDER is planning to develop more than 200 homes on the site of Dublin’s second-most expensive house.

Cairn Homes has been in discussions with An Bord Pleanála about plans to construct 217 houses on the grounds of Chesterfield House through the new fast-track planning system.

A rough outline of the proposal for the 3.2-hectare site in Blackrock states that the plans include the demolition of the non-original fabric of Chesterfield House and its derelict sheds.

Following an initial consultation period on the plans, the planning authority has ruled that Cairn Homes can apply through the Strategic Housing Development scheme for permission.

The scheme is a new fast-track planning process that allows residential developers to apply directly to the national planning board and skip the local authority system – potentially stripping a year or more from the application process.

Cairn bought Chesterfield House and its grounds when it acquired the Project Clear loan portfolio from Ulster Bank for around €378 million in 2015.

The Blackrock-based house was the former home of the late Tom Roche, who co-founded building materials giant Roadstone.

The property and its woodlands were previously bought by Avenue Homes, a firm owned by developer Myles Crofton, for €47 million in 2004.

This is the second-highest price ever paid in Dublin for a residential home. Ireland’s most expensive house, Walford, which was bought for €58 million in 2005, is located on Dublin’s Shrewsbury Road.

The original drawing room of Chesterfield House is a protected structure and cannot be demolished as part of the development plans.

Fora contacted Cairn Homes for further details about the demolition proposed. A spokeswoman for the firm said it wasn’t in a position to provide detailed information about the project.

However, she added that the development is likely to be a mix of houses and apartments.

crossavenue An aerial shot of the Blackrock site Source: Cairn Homes

Pre-crash

Planning permission was previously granted for the construction of 150 apartments in four separate blocks at the Blackrock site.

As part of that approved proposal, Avenue Homes also planned to refurbish Chesterfield House and convert it into an office building. The proposal was given the all-clear in 2007 by An Bord Pleanála, but development never went ahead after the property market crash.

The Blackrock site is listed on Cairn’s website as an “upcoming development”. The builder notes that the plans are at the detailed design stage in advance of a Strategic Housing Development planning application to An Bord Pleanála.

The fast-track scheme was introduced to help alleviate the Republic’s chronic lack of housing. It has been predicted that this shortage could last for up to a decade.

Set up in November 2014, Dublin-based Cairn Homes listed on the London Stock Exchange in June 2015 in a move that saw it raise about €400 million.

According to its website, Cairn has a number of upcoming residential projects in the works, including a large-scale plan at the former grounds of RTÉ in Donnybrook and a proposal to develop a long-vacant site in Stillorgan village.

Cairn is currently in the process of constructing apartments in Shakleton in Lucan, Hanover Quay, Marianella, Rathgar and Donnybrook Gardens.

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Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ie

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