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'It's devastating': Permission granted for major 536 unit housing development beside Dublin park

Local politicians have argued that the land is not zoned for housing.

CONTROVERSIAL PLANNING PERMISSION for a major residential development beside a north Dublin park has been granted by An Bord Pleanála.

The plans for the area near the north-west corner of St Anne’s Park in Raheny were announced back in 2015 but locals have continuously objected on various grounds, including that the land is not zoned for housing.

The initial plans by IMG Planning on behalf of Crekav Landback Investments would have seen 381 new housing units of various types and sizes built on the site.

Revised plans submitted by Dublin City Council in August 2016 showed that it had been reduced by 25 units up to 365, a 6.6% reduction on the previous proposal.

However, the latest plans granted by An Bord Pleanála will now see the construction of 536 new units – 104 houses and 432 apartments – on the site.

The proposed planning also includes widening the existing traffic access onto Sybil Hill Road to facilitate the proposed access road with footpaths and on-road cycle tracks.

The layout of the proposal consists of two zones – the apartment area is located to the north and the housing area is located to the south.

The zones will be divided by an access roadway, which provides access from the site onto Sybil Hill Road.

The apartment complex will contain six apartment blocks, ranging in heights of between five to eight storeys. The housing units will consist of four courtyard blocks.

An Bord Pleanála has said that a detailed construction traffic management plan must be submitted to and agreed in writing with the Planning Authority prior to the commencement of the development.

Controversy 

The development is controversial partly because the site sits next to the parkland area that includes St Anne’s Park, but is in fact privately owned.

The site in question encompasses playing pitches that were owned by the Vincentian secondary school St Paul’s College but were sold to developers.

The pitches are alongside the main avenue running through St Anne’s Park and border some other Dublin City Council-owned pitches in the park.

A number of politicians have been objecting to the development over the past number of years, arguing that the land in question is not specifically zoned for residential housing.

Under the Dublin City Council Development Plan, the land is zoned as Z15 meaning that it is zoned for “institutional and community” use rather than Z1 for “sustainable residential neighbourhoods”.

Under the Z15 zoning, “residential development is open for consideration” but politicians argue that the plans go beyond what would be appropriate.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, local councillor Naoise Ó Múirí said that because this is a large-scale residential zoning, it belongs under a Z1 area.

I’m amazed at this decision. It’s not a Z1 zoning and that for me is one of the key issues with the whole thing. If this was a residential zoning, fair enough, but it’s not.

Chief Executive of Dublin City Council Owen Keegan today said that he was very surprised at the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant permission for the construction of the 536 housing units.

In a statement today, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin expressed his disappointment at the decision.

“The proposal to construct 536 housing units on this site is a perversion of what the lands were intended for, and will have a devastating effect on the environmental integrity of St Anne’s Park – a park which is the green lung of the northside,” Ó Ríordáin said.

Pat Crean, CEO of Marlet Property Group said: “We are delighted with the decision announced today by An Bord Pleanála which will provide over 500 badly needed homes close to the city.

“These homes will be built in a mature low-density suburb, will respect the wonderful amenity that is the neighbouring St Anne’s Park. We believe that when the development is completed it will enhance the area.”

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