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Dublin County Council rejects planning permission for apartments as being "visually unacceptable"

The country’s biggest private landlord, Ires Reit, wanted to build the units at Sandyford in Dublin.

Image: Studio Anyo

A PROPOSAL BY Ireland’s largest private landlord to build nearly 500 apartments has been knocked back by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Irish Residential Properties (Ires) Reit, which already owns over 2,000 apartments in Ireland, submitted plans to the council to build three, 14-storey apartment blocks in the Sandyford area in a development that would contain 492 new apartments.

In a briefing note to clients this morning, Goodbody analyst Colm Lauder said the development at Rockbrook was the latest “victim of a flawed planning system”.

He said the decision to refuse planning was further evidence of inconsistent decision-making at county council level despite signals from the government that there was an urgent need to lift supply.

An estimated 30,000-plus new housing units will need to be built in Ireland each year to keep pace with existing demand. The latest figures from the Department of Housing show less than half this number were completed last year.

In its decision on the Sandyford development, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said the three-storey development would be ”visually unacceptable”.

“The proposed development would set an undesirable precedent, seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The council added that the development would not provide a high-quality living environment for residents and highlighted that layout of access points to the building’s lobbies would create “security concerns” for residents.

view_5-crop-u43013 Source: Studio Anyo

Additionally, the decision from the council noted that there were other “significant issues” in relation to transport, amenity and drainage that need to be addressed in any further planning applications for the Sandyford site.

However Lauder noted that the development would be located nearby transport links such as the M50 and Luas, and the area was designated as a suitable area for high-density housing in the council’s Sandyford Urban Framework Plan 2016-2022.

He added that the refusal for planning will likely delay the Rockbrook scheme for at least six months.

Since the rejection of its proposal by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Ires Reit has announced it plans to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanala.

Pre-crash plans

The development project at Rockbrook, Sandyford, was initially started before the economic crash by Cork developer John Fleming.

He had permission to build 900 apartments on the site as part of a scheme. Some 400 units were completed in the years preceding the financial crisis.

dublin_interior-crop-u30208 Source: Studio Anyo

Ires Reit planned to complete the development by building the remaining 492 units and also wanted to develop a crèche and retail lot on the site.

The developers predicted that the units in Sandyford would cost in the region of €270,000 and €350,000 – for one- and two-bedroom flats respectively – and net the firm over €165 million in sales.

There were a number of objections lodged to the Rockbrook development, including submissions from environmental charity An Taisce and local residents.

Update: This article has been updated to include information about Ires Reit’s plans to appeal its rejected planning application.

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Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ie

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