Monday 29 May 2017

D4 residents launch new fight to stop €50m luxury apartment development

An artist's impression of the proposed apartments
An artist's impression of the proposed apartments

Gordon Deegan

A GROUP of Dublin 4 residents has opposed fresh plans by a property firm, backed by billionaire businessman Denis O'Brien, for a €50m luxury apartment block development in Donnybrook.

Mr O'Brien's Purleigh Holdings had previously been given permission to build 71 flats on the site, despite objections.

Now residents have launched a new protest, after the firm submitted an updated planning application to build an extra storey and increase the development to 90 apartments.

Thirty residents from the adjoining Nutley Square have lodged a comprehensive objection against the new proposal.

In December, An Bord Pleanála gave the go-ahead to Purleigh to construct 71 apartments in five standalone white pavilion blocks at Greenfield, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

The appeals board upheld a Dublin City Council decision to grant planning permission for the development in spite of opposition from the same group of Nutley Square residents.

Mr O'Brien acquired the site from UCD in 2008, when he gave UCD €15m in cash and another three-acre site at Roebuck in a land-swap plus cash deal.

However, in a bid to maximise its return on the investment, Purleigh has now lodged plans for 90 apartments on the same site - with the height of the apartment blocks increasing from four to five storeys.

Consultants for Purleigh, Hughes Planning and Development Consultants have told the City Council that the height of the plan has increased from 13.8m to 16m "thus remaining within the permissible height for sites in the 'Outer City' area".

The consultants also said that "the development proposal seeks to deliver a high-quality residential development at a scale and density which makes the most efficient use of serviced land within Dublin's metropolitan area".

The consultants also point out that the development seeks to enhance the appearance of the area through high-quality design "and more importantly, seeking to protect the residential amenity of adjacent properties". They further state that the development seeks to protect the "residential amenity" and create a high standard of accommodation.

However, in the residents' objection, secretary of Nutley Square Management Company, Patrick Clery told the city council: "We consider that the proposed development does nothing to protect, provide or improve the residential amenities of our neighbourhood."

Mr Clery claims that the proposal "is incompatible in relation to character, height and density with existing developments in the area. It also lacks adequate green space". He states that, due to its size and height, the development "will truly have an unacceptable adverse impacts on the houses in Nutley Square".

He states: "House owners in the Square will find they are overlooked by the proposed apartments and balconies thus leading to a loss of privacy, in addition to having a visually overbearing impact on their houses and gardens."

"The development would completely overshadow and dominate the backs of Nos 8 to 19 Nutley Square on the boundary with the development site as all of their gardens, living areas and bedrooms would be visible to the residents of the proposed apartment blocks," he added.

Mr Clery also argued that the Purleigh proposal "does not respect the character, context and urban form of the surrounding development"

"The apartment blocks are overbearing, out of scale and out of character in terms of their appearance compared with the existing housing in the immediate area which is red brick," he said.

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