Thursday 24 May 2018

Minister Shane Ross opposes eight-floor block next to 14-storey Sandyford tower

The Sentinel building in Sandyford Business District in south Dublin has lain idle for a decade. Inset, Shane Ross who has objected to plans relating to its development
The Sentinel building in Sandyford Business District in south Dublin has lain idle for a decade. Inset, Shane Ross who has objected to plans relating to its development
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

A plan by the Comer brothers to complete the development of the Sentinel building and an adjoining apartment block in the Sandyford Business District in south Dublin has been met with an objection from Transport Minister Shane Ross.

While welcoming a proposal for the completion of the 14-storey Sentinel which he said “has been a visible scar on the Sandyford skyline for so long”, Mr Ross has told planners at Dun Laoghaire County Council that the addition of two floors to the six-storey building immediately beside it would “be totally out of sync with the local area”.

A resident of Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, Mr Ross, wrote to the council’s planners on February 3 last in his capacity as a TD for Dublin South to voice both his and his constituents’ concerns in relation to the Comers’ proposal for the Sentinel.

Referring to their application to increase the height of the existing six-storey shell structure adjoining the main Sentinel tower, he said: “It is submitted that the structure that is in place (the shell) is already two [sic] imposing in height, and the additional two storeys proposed in the application make this proposal totally out of sync with the local area. There will be obvious privacy concerns for local residents if this development is granted permission”.

While the Transport Minister’s objection reflects the concern of residents in the neighbouring housing estates of Lakelands and Stillorgan Wood, it would appear to be in conflict with the view now being expressed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the need for high-rise development in certain areas of Dublin and other cities around the country.

Writing in the Sunday Independent last Sunday, Mr Varadkar included the development of high-rise housing as one of 13 areas that he sees as being “significant” for the delivery of the Government’s oft-stated aim to make Ireland a ‘Republic of Opportunity’.

“The next area is redeveloping our cities. We are currently tackling a serious housing shortage, — and I suspect a large part of the solution lies in redevelopment of our cities for high-rise quality apartment living, not further urban sprawl,” Mr Varadkar wrote.

The Comers acquired the unfinished Sentinel structure in 2011 for just €850,000. The building had previously formed part of the Rockbrook scheme which had been assembled and partially developed by developer John Fleming prior to the crash.

The Galway-born developers are currently in the process of seeking permission for 294 ‘live-work’ office units and retail space at the Sentinel and its adjoining building. Elsewhere within the wider Rockbrook campus, Ires Reit is awaiting the outcome of its appeal to An Bord Pleanala of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s refusal of its application for the development of 467 apartments. Planners at Dun Laoghaire said that the proposal for three 14-storey apartment blocks would detract from the visual dominance of the unfinished Sentinel building,

Last month, Pearse Farrell of receivers Duff Phelps sought a pre-planning consultation with An Bord Pleanala for 482 apartments on the Rockbrook site.

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