Broadcaster and wife submit 15-page objection to five-storey building planned for Dalkey site
Broadcaster Pat Kenny has claimed that plans to place a five-storey building in what he calls “a peaceful, quiet, sylvan setting surrounded by nature” beside his Dalkey home “amounts of vandalism”.
The claim is contained in a hard-hitting 15-page objection running to over 5,000 words lodged by Newstalk presenter Kenny and his wife Kathy against plans by Bartra Capital to construct the 104-bedroom nursing home on a site beside the Kenny home in Dalkey, Co Dublin.
The Kenny submission is one of 37 lodged by locals with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council concerning the planned scheme, with Dalkey Community Council adding its weight behind the strong local opposition to the Bartra plan.
In their objection, the Kennys wrote: “As in the pantomime, we suggest that the developers are attempting to stuff an ‘Ugly Sister’s foot’ into Cinderella’s delicate slipper.”
The Kennys are also signatories to a separate group objection drafted by planning consultant Hendrik W van der Kamp.
Eleven other households have also signed up to the group objection, in which Mr van der Kamp argues that the proposed development would seriously injure residential amenities of adjoining property due to an oppressive impact on the views from these houses.
Also, together with eight other households in the area, the Kennys have commissioned a consultant ecologist, Billy Flynn of Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants, to make a separate submission on the residents’ behalf on the impact that the planned nursing home will have on badgers in the area.
In his report, Mr Flynn warns that any attempts to exclude or translocate badgers from their sett as part of the proposed scheme “would result in the extinction of this badger group”.
In their own objection, the Kennys state: “Currently the residents enjoy a peaceful, quiet, sylvan setting, surrounded by nature.”
They say that the proposed development site for the nursing home is located in an old quarry which “has created an oasis and a safe habitat for both humans and the creatures of the natural world”.
They argue: “This proposal would change the entire character of the neighbourhood, and hugely diminish the enjoyment that each currently has in their own property. Placing a five-storey building in this setting amounts to vandalism.”
The Kennys also state that if the nursing home is permitted, it “would detrimentally impact” on their home, The Anchorage, which adjoins the nursing home site to the south east.
The Kennys argue that the proposal “would also set a precedent that could ultimately seriously damage the character of the area”.
In terms of the scale of the proposal, the Kennys state that “this proposal inserts a monolithic concrete structure effectively in the middle of back gardens of current residents adjoining the site”.
The Kennys say it is their view that Bartra has “bought a challenging and problematic site, which requires sensitive and creative treatment”.
They argue that what the developers have been doing in the current application and in the previous apartment plan that has secured permission “has been precisely the opposite”.
The Kennys state that the proposal should be refused on a number of grounds.
The Kennys state that the area is made up of 11 detached houses along the lane, including Maple Tree House.
They claim: “The development proposed would utterly change the character of the neighbourhood, by inserting what is effectively a large commercially driven five-storey project into a two-storey domestic housing environment.”
On the traffic impact of the proposal, the Kennys argue that the proposed scheme “as well as grossly interfering with our legal right to unhindered passage across the laneway to our home, both during construction and after completion, it will inevitably lead to congestion/parking on Harbour Road, which is already extremely challenged”.
On behalf of Dalkey Community Council, Dr Susan McDonnell has requested that planning permission be refused “in view of our widespread concerns”.
Dr McDonnell has told the Council: “We have concerns about the scale, height and massing of this proposed 104-bed nursing home located in a residential area where the surrounding buildings are mainly two-storey.”
Dr McDonnell argues that the proposed nursing home “constitutes an overdevelopment of the site”.
Fine Gael Councillor Mary Fayne has also lodged an objection and she said she is strongly objecting to the scheme due to its inappropriate location and overlooking of several homes.
The application, rising from two to five storeys, comes 18 months after Bartra secured the green light for 18 apartments and six houses on the 1.4-acre Yonder site.
Bartra only obtained planning permission for the apartments from An Bord Pleanála after a planning battle with the Kennys.
The nursing home plan replaces the apartment plan proposal for the site.
However, planning documents lodged with the application contend that the nursing home scheme will have a significantly reduced impact on the Kenny home and neighbouring properties than the permitted apartment scheme.
In the documents lodged on behalf of Bartra by Thornton O’Connor Town Planning, Patricia Thornton has stated that, unlike the permitted scheme, there is no development in the southern portion of the site and this significantly reduces the impact of the property on the surrounding dwellings at the southern end of the site.
Ms Thornton further stated that the nursing home scheme has been sensitively designed to minimise the potential impact on the residential amenity of surrounding properties.
Ms Thornton stated that the incorporation of design features such as a setback top floor, carefully positioned fenestration, obviated windows, no development at the southern end of the site and high-quality landscaping will ensure that the proposed development knits into the receiving environment.
Ms Thornton further states that the scheme’s location close to Dalkey village and to the local Dart station will ensure that future residents have the opportunity to remain living within their community.
Ms Thornton states that the future residents will be provided with appropriate medical care and support while also enjoying the benefit of existing social and community infrastructure in the village.
As part of her 55-page planning report lodged with the application, Ms Thornton contended that what is proposed represents a significant investment in an under-utilised infill site providing “a much needed nursing home facility for the area”.
Ms Thornton stated that the principal objective of the application is to contribute towards reducing the shortage of residential care home beds.
Ms Thornton argued that “as a result of its contemporary, sensitive design, the scheme is an appropriately scaled form in its receiving environment” and importantly will respect the surrounding context, including nearby dwellings.
A Badger Conservation Plan lodged on behalf of Bartra states that the proposed nursing home development will not have a significant impact on the badger sett structure once proposed mitigation measures have been implemented.
A decision is due on the application next month. If Bartra is unsuccessful with the proposed scheme, the company can still proceed to construct the permitted apartment scheme.
Bartra Capital declined to comment today on the contents of the submissions objecting to the scheme.