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Two global giants row over 'wasteful' plan to build 100 houses in Meath

UK giant Abbey claimed the development shouldn’t go ahead because it didn’t include enough houses.

ONE OF THE the largest builders in the Irish market has backed down from a planning row with a major investment fund over more than 100 houses in Meath – which it said shouldn’t be built because the project wasn’t dense enough.

A company called Kingscroft Developments, a subsidiary of housebuilder Abbey, recently withdrew its appeal to An Bord Pleanála regarding a project involving 106 housing units in Navan.

A company called Targeted Investment Opportunities PLC is behind the proposed development. The fund was set up by Oaktree Capital, one of the largest asset management companies in the world, and Irish-based property firm Bennett Group.

Not enough houses

Last October, Targeted Investments applied to build the units, as well as 212 car parking spaces, at Clonmagadden.

The majority of the houses, 67, were to be three-bed developments, while 31 were to have four bedrooms and the remainder two bedrooms.

navan masterplan A masterplan of the site Source: Meath County Council

Click here for a larger image

The application noted that the proposals formed part of phase one of a wider masterplan for the area. It was approved by local authority Meath County Council.

However, Kingscroft appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanála. Among other issues raised, such as whether local roads would help provide for “sustainable modes of transport”, the company argued that its rival was not planning to build enough houses on the site.

According to a document sent between the two authorities, Kingscroft claimed the proposed development “fails to provide for an adequate level of residential density on this residentially zoned site”.

“The board may consider that the proposed development might constitute an unsustainable and wasteful use of zoned lands and might be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” it said.

Withdrawn

However, the council said that density should be considered on a site-by-site basis, and argued that recommended density set out in Navan development plans were more suitable for areas closer to the town centre.

“The application site which is the subject of appeal is located on the edge of the Navan development boundary where the character of the area is for lower density residential developments,” it said.

Last month the council received a letter to say that the appeal by Kingscroft was withdrawn, although it did not say why.

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Giant tussle

Kingscroft owner Abbey, which is headquartered in London, is one of the most active construction companies in Ireland and is listed on the junior Irish stock exchange.

Oaktree, a giant US investment fund with about $98 billion of assets under management across the globe, has been also active in the Irish market in the years since the crash. The firm was recently shortlisted to buy two portfolios of loans with a combined face value of about €4.7 billion.

Founded in Mullingar almost 100 years ago, Bennett Group is one of the country’s largest property groups and has been involved with projects such as the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk and the Helix building at Dublin City University.

Neither Abbey nor Oaktree had responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Fora.ie

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