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OPW raised concerns over impact planned apartments in Glasnevin will have on Botanic Gardens

The OPW brought up issues with the scale of the proposed development at the site of a former car dealership on Glasnevin Hill.

File photo of the green house in the Botanic Gardens.
File photo of the green house in the Botanic Gardens.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE OFFICE OF Public Works raised concerns about plans to build 74 apartments close to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin because of the impact the build would have on the popular attraction.

The OPW brought up issues with the scale of the proposed development at the site of a former car dealership on Glasnevin Hill in Dublin 9, and the visual impact it would have on the Botanic Gardens.

The planning application was lodged by Sanderly Holdings Limited last September. The company is closely linked to the property developer Noel Smyth.

“The OPW are concerned that the site of the proposed development is not capable of absorbing such a large-scale development in a manner which respects its historic surroundings, and in particular, the site of the National Botanic Gardens,” an OPW architect wrote in its submission to the council.

It asked that planners seek the applicant to more fully consider the effect the proposed development would have on the gardens.

Sanderly Holdings applied to Dublin City Council to build 74 apartments (a mix of one- two- and three-bedroom units), with associated community facilities and two retail units at the site of the former Glasnevin Autos showroom on Glasnevin Hill.

The proposed apartments would be built across two blocks up to six storeys (c. 20m) in height.

The application has been met with fierce local resistance, with a total of 75 third party submissions being lodged with the council. These came from local residents, politicians and concerned businesses.

Dublin North West TD and Social Democrats leader Róisín Shortall, Councillor Gary Gannon, Labour councillor Áine Clancy and Independent councillor Cieran Perry are among those who objected to the development.

The scale of the development, the negative effect it would have on traffic, the visual impact it would have and the fact that it would be out of character with other buildings in the area were among the most common concerns raised.

“I believe that this proposal constitutes an overdevelopment of the site and would be inappropriate for Glasnevin Village,” Deputy Shortall wrote in her submission.

“In terms of height, design, and bulk the proposal would completely dominate the streetscape of Glasnevin Hill where the majority of buildings are two storey.”

Additional information

DCC came back to the applicant requesting 13 pieces of additional information before a decision could be made on the application.

Sanderly Holdings originally had six months from November to submit the information. Planning consultants Tom Phillips & Associates, acting on behalf of the company, requested an extension to this.

An extension was granted in March until August, and the information was provided at the end of last month.  

Planners asked that they address concerns over the proposed height of the apartment blocks, which is above the 16m allowed in that area under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022.

The applicant was also asked to address concerns over the visible impact the development would have on surrounding properties. It was also requested to submit images of how the development would look from within the grounds of the Botanic Gardens and other areas.

Additional information was also requested on the impact on traffic, the effect the development would have on nearby schools, and how the development would contribute to community infrastructure in the area.

The National Botanic Gardens were first founded in 1795. They are a popular tourist attraction and contains thousands of living plants and plant specimens.

Sanderly Holdings is co-owned by Alannah and Anne Marie Smyth, the daughter and wife of solicitor and well-known developer Noel Smyth. Noel Smyth is one of the directors of the company.

It was set up in October 2017.

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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