News Irish News

Sunday 25 February 2018

Pictured: The 'little box' apartments planned for Castleknock that Varadkar finds 'grossly insensitive'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar remains opposed to the proposed development
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar remains opposed to the proposed development
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

At weekends, many residents from Castleknock wander into Bradys for a pint and a chat about the world at large.

In recent months, though, it's the goings-on at the bar itself that has got them exercised - and not necessarily because their watering hole will be demolished.

What is of more concern is the plans by Absainte Ltd to build a residential development consisting of 41 apartments.

Those concerned got local politicians on their side, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - who this week came under fire from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin for objecting to the project.

But Mr Varadkar is not alone in the battle. In fact, Mr Martin's own local deputy Jack Chambers opposes the plan, as does former tánaiste Joan Burton.

Dublin Mid-West is a hotly contested constituency so it's not surprising they all want to stay on the side of residents. Yet in spite of 90 objections, Fingal County Council gave the green light last January for 38 apartments and an underground car park.

Among the council's conditions was that, prior to the commencement of the development, the applicant should agree "an acceptable bilingual naming and numbering scheme, which shall reflect local historical place names".

Mr Varadkar lodged his appeal along with local Fine Gael councillor Eithne Loftus in February.

His letter said it was a "huge error of judgment" to approve the plan after the community "bombarded the council with strongly felt, reasoned objections".

He said the four-storey design model had "long fallen into disfavour" and it would be "grossly insensitive" to permit such "dated architecture to succeed". Mr Varadkar said the apartments would affect "the marketability of treasured homes" in the area.

Ms Burton has made similar arguments, saying the apartments are "out of character with the Old Navan Road".

Cllr Loftus, who often socialises with friends in the pub, views the plans as "just an ugly development of boxes". She references singer Malvina Reynolds, quoting: "Little boxes made of ticky tacky, Little boxes, Little boxes, Little boxes all the same."

Defending his intervention, the Taoiseach says the area has been "blighted" by bad planning.

"I'm very much for development and housing construction in all parts of the country but there's a difference between in favour of development and being in favour of every single development," he said.

An Bord Pleanála was due to make a final decision last month but was delayed due to "capacity constraints" in its office.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News