Monday 10 December 2018

Pat Kenny and wife Kathy win housing battle as planning for apartment blocks refused

Broadcaster lodged a 16-page objection to 'ill-thought' apartment block plan next to Dalkey home

Gordon Deegan

One of Ireland’s best known broadcasters, Newstalk's Pat Kenny and his wife, Kathy have won their battle against plans for three apartment blocks and seven houses on a site adjacent to their Dalkey home.

This follows Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council refusing planning permission to property firm, Bartra Capital Property, for the 19 apartments in three blocks ranging up to four storeys along with five three-bedroom homes and two semi-detached homes for the 1.4 acre site.

The ruling by the Council represents a resounding victory for the Kennys in what could be ‘Round One’ of this planning battle as a number of grounds for refusal put forward by the Kennys have been endorsed by the Council.

At the end of their 16 page objection, the Kennys suggested that grounds for refusal would be that the proposed development by reason of its scale, height and design would have an overbearing visual impact and be seriously injurious to the setting, amenity and appreciation of neighbouring properties.

In its comprehensive refusal, the planning authority echoes many of the reasons put forward by the Kennys.

In its formal order, the Council stated that the proposed development “would seriously injure the residential amenities and depreciate the value of property in the vicinity and would thereby be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

The Council also refused planning permission as it ruled that the height, bulk and scale of the proposed apartment Block A would result in visual overbearing as viewed from adjoining sites and would result in over-shadowing of the adjoining site.

The planners also had concerns over the scale of Block B stating that the proposed bulk, height and scale of that block relative to the adjoining site to the north would result in overshadowing and would appear visually dominant as viewed from the amenity space of the dwelling to the north.

The planners stated that the proposed development therefore would be seriously injurious to the residential and visual amenity of these adjoining sites and if permitted would set an undesirable precedent for similar developments in the vicinity.

In a note attached to the refusal, the Council state that aside from the reasons for refusal, the planning authority has other concerns regarding the proposal.

The Council state: “In this regard, the applicant is advised that the planning report should be considered in full.”

The battle is not over yet for the Kennys however as Richard Barrett’s Bartra Capital now has the option of appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanala or lodging plans for a revised scale down development at the site.

Bartra will be anxious to secure a return on its investment on the site - earlier this year, the property firm €3.1m for the Maple Tree House site adjacent to the Kennys' home and also paid for an additional adjoining strip of land to allow the planning application be lodged last month.

The Kennys led the local opposition against the plan with 17 other objections from locals also lodged against the planning application.

The Kenny objection pointed out that their home, The Anchorage abuts the subject site.

The objection stated: “In my opinion, the proposed development by the applicant is not in compliance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."

The objection stated that if permitted the development "would detrimentally impact on The Anchorage" and other residential properties in the area.

The objection added: “It would also set a precedent that could ultimately seriously damage the character of the area.”

They stated that planning permission should be refused as “this development is ill-thought and appears based on the quest for density alone with scant other consideration”.

The Kennys stated: “We have no desire to object to every development proposal, but we seek only to have appropriate development in terms of scale and function."

They went on to state: “At the outset, Ireland is undergoing a housing crisis. Therefore, it is incumbent to realise the development potential of serviced-residentially zone land.

“However, as outlined clearly in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Development Plan, any densification of brownfield lands must be balanced with respect for the receiving environment of established residential properties.

“With that principle in mind, the crux of the issue in considering the proposed development is that the suitability of the site in principle and the ability of the receiving environment to absorb the proposal are two very different considerations.”

The Kennys opposed the plan on a number of grounds - density, scale and massing, design, traffic impact, impact on trees and habitat and residential amenity.

The Kennys stated that the development would result in gross overlooking along with loss of light and loss of privacy of The Anchorage.

They stated that “the Duplex apartments at the end of the site overlook The Anchorage and any roof terrace or window would be less than 15 metres from our daughter’s bedroom window and 19 metres from our bedroom window”.

They pointed out that the ground level of The Anchorage is 3.5 metres below the ground level of the Duplex Apartment block G&H.

They stated: “On our outdoor dining patio, we would be facing a construction with a roof line some 11 metres above us, denying us light and privacy.”

The Kennys stated that the loss of light on their property that would result from the proposal “would be disastrous”.

Consultants for Bartra Capital Property told the Council that the seven houses are modest in size for the area and are either terraced or semi-detached.

The consultants stated that the 19 apartments are generous in size and will provide an attractive and sustainable alternative for many residents in the area particularly ‘empty nesters’ wishing to downsize from the larger family homes but wanting to remain in the area.

The consultants also told the Council that the development will see an increase to density of around 43 units per hectare “which will deliver a more sustainable return on zoned, serviced and accessible land within an established suburban location”.

The applicants' consultants stated that arising from a pre-planning meeting the principle of a residential infill development would be acceptable to the Council and that a high quality and appropriately scaled new development would add to the area.

They stated that in terms of density, the proposal was considerable acceptable by the Council planners as was the mix of units.

The consultants stated that the development will not have an adverse impact on residential amenities or views from the wider area and has an attractive design.

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