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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Building firm in planning battle with Pat Kenny offers to reduce scale of development

Pat Kenny and his wife, Kathy Picture: Brian McEvoy
Pat Kenny and his wife, Kathy Picture: Brian McEvoy

Gordon Deegan

The building firm seeking to construct an apartment block and house plan on lands adjacent to broadcaster Pat Kenny’s home has offered to reduce the scale of the development.

Last November, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council refused planning permission to Bartra Capital Property for three apartment blocks and seven houses on lands beside the Kenny home in Dalkey.

The application consists of 19 apartments in three blocks ranging up to four storeys along with five three bedroomed homes and two semi-detached homes on the 1.4 acre site.

Bartra appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála and in its bid to secure the green light for the contentious plan is proposing revised plans.

In the revised plans, Bartra is proposing the omission of the one of the homes and the location of one of the apartment blocks further away from one of the residential properties on adjoining lands.

Bartra is also proposing the recessing of the upper floors of one Block which is aimed at reducing the visual impact of the development.

In a submission to the appeals board, the Council has stated that the changes are significant, material and have not been publicly advertised.

As a result, the Council stated that these proposed changes should not be considered in the context of the appeal and should instead be subject to a new planning application and "a fresh assessment".

In a response submission, consultants for Bartra, McGill Planning disagree that the changes require a fresh planning application.

They state that the proposed changes "whilst providing improvements in terms of residential amenity, are of themselves, not physical changes that are ‘significant’ or 'material' within the context of the overall development and not to the extent that additional public concern arises".

McGill Planning state: "It’s important to emphasise that the proposed changes seek to reduce the impact of the development and accordingly improve local residential amenities compared to the original design."

The consultants point out that "the suggested alterations are of a type and extent that are regularly proposed by applicants in response to a further information request from the planning authority and which could not be considered significant or material to require further public advertisement in such cases".

McGill Planning add "we point out that given the positive response of the planning authority to the proposed changes that it is regrettable that a further information request wasn’t sought in the first instance (by the Council)".

The consultants state that the modest changes indicated to the board "are of a type that could be imposed by a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála as a condition of part of grant of permission, again without the need to re-advertise."

McGill Planning argue that the board has the requisite powers and discretion to consider the proposed amendments to the scheme.

The consultants state: "Given that the planning authority is otherwise positively disposed towards the changes we request that the board set side the original decision to refuse and grant permission with appropriate conditions."

In response, the appeals board has written to the local authority asking it, in the interests of natural justice, to reply to the points raised by McGill Planning.

In lodging the appeal and proposed the revised plan, Richard Barrett's Bartra is anxious to see a return on the reported €3.1m his firm paid for the Maple Tree House site adjacent to the Kenny home and also paid for an additional 0.51 acre site.

However, Pat Kenny and his wife Cathy will take comfort from the latest figures from An Bord Pleanála showing that Mr Barrett has a uphill battle in order to have the city council decision reversed.

According to the appeals board 2017 report, the number of council decisions reversed on appeal to An Bord Pleanala stood at 23.7pc - or a little less than one in four of the 1,427 decisions made.

The comprehensive Kenny objection lodged with the City Council ran to 16 pages.

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."

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

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

A decision is due on the appeal next month.

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