Sunday 18 March 2018

Under-fire developers had plans for €100m indoor 'Snowtopia' ski resort

Richard Larkin at the unveiling of plans for ‘Snowtopia’ back in 2009. Photo: Robbie Reynolds
Richard Larkin at the unveiling of plans for ‘Snowtopia’ back in 2009. Photo: Robbie Reynolds
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

The family at the centre of the Tyrrelstown eviction controversy previously planned to develop a €100m indoor ski resort and sports centre offering hundreds of jobs.

But the pie-in-the-sky development, named 'Snowtopia', was given the cold shoulder, with planners saying it would be prejudicial to the future expansion of nearby companies and unsuitable for the area.

Twinlite Services Ltd, where brothers Richard (31) and Michael (34) Larkin are listed as directors, is in the spotlight after it wrote to residents living at the Cruise Park estate in Tyrrelstown saying their leases would not be renewed.

But the Larkins are also directors of another company, Cobalt Developments, which sought planning permission in late 2008 from Fingal County Council to develop a ski resort.

The company proposed a development of more than 32,000 square metres across a 5.39 hectare site at Mulhuddart, to be accommodated in a five-storey building with an overall height of more than 47 metres.

To be named 'Snowtopia', the scheme included two ski slopes, an ice-climbing zone, a 10-screen cinema, family adventure play area and five restaurants. But it was refused by Fingal County Council, and later on appeal to An Bord Pleanala. The board refused permission because the land was zoned for "science and technology-based employment," and approval would impact on the ability of a pharmaceutical company to expand.


The proposed cinema would impact on the viability of another cinema at the Blanchardstown shopping centre, while the lack of public transport and roads infrastructure would create an "unsustainable car-dependent development".

At the time, a spokesperson for the company said it had spent €300,000 on planning and had the backing of an English venture company.

"This was not some pie-in-the-sky idea," she said, adding that up to 1,000 jobs would have been created had the project been approved.

Public records show that Richard Larkin, with an address at Dolly's Grove, Staffordstown, Dunboyne, Co Meath, is currently a director of 24 companies. His brother Michael, with an address at Cedar House, Jealoustown in Dunshaughlin, is listed as a director in 18 firms.

Twinlite is recorded as making 96 planning applications to Fingal County Council, including plans for the Tyrrelstown development of more than 2,000 units which was developed from the early 2000s.

Its most recent application, which was approved in October 2014, includes plans for more than 170 homes at Church Road, Kilmartin, Tyrrelstown.

It included a link road to the east of Tyrrelstown Educate Together School, to connect with Tyrrelstown Town Centre. The application required the developers to pay levies of €1.8m.

Cobalt Developments is listed as having made 22 planning applications. In 2011, it sought to extend planning permission for a retail park across at a site east of the Tyrrelstown district centre, which could not proceed until the N2/N3 link road was fully constructed.

The permission was extended, and expires on April 26 next.

Irish Independent

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