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'Dismayed' locals hit out after housing plan for pitches gets green light

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Protesters at a demonstration against the plan last November

Protesters at a demonstration against the plan last November

Protesters at a demonstration against the plan last November

North Dublin residents have expressed their "disappointment" with a decision to allow more than 650 homes to be built on playing pitches beside St Anne's Park, Raheny.

An Bord Pleanala has given Pat Crean's Marlet Group the green light in spite of strong local opposition against the controversial plan, which received more than 650 objections.

Under the Government's 'fast-track' planning rules, Marlet's Crekav Trading was seeking a 10-year permission to construct 657 apartments on the St Paul's College site.

However, against the background of the continuing housing crisis, the appeals board has granted a five-year permission ensuring that the residential units will be built at a much faster rate.

Excessive

The development is made up of 378 two-bed apartments, 224 one-bed units and 55 three-bed units across nine apartment blocks ranging in height from five to nine storeys.

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The playing pitches

The playing pitches

The playing pitches

The appeals board upheld the recommendation of its own inspector, Karen Hamilton, at the end of her 101-page report to grant planning permission.

The appeals board said the proposed development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity.

Objectors claimed the height of the apartment blocks is inappropriate and that the development is excessive and out of character with St Anne's Park.

Central to the issue of permission was the presence of protected Brent geese on the site.

Members of the "I Love St Anne's" campaign, which previously succeeded in stopping the development, said it was "surprised and disappointed" at An Bord Pleanala's decision.

"[This] appears to contradict their own recent ruling on the synthetic pitches and their 2018 refusal for a similar development on the same land," the group said.

"In addition, there are two legal processes on-going in relation to this land which, in our view, make today's ruling somewhat premature.

"Once we have had a chance to review the Inspector's Report, we will post a full update."

Local councillor Donna Cooney told the Herald she is "dismayed" at the board's decision.

However, she believed the fight will continue to stop the development from going ahead.

"The residents are studying the board's decision and are planning on what to do next," Cllr Cooney said.

"But I don't think their opposition towards this development will stop. I believe people are as determined as ever to protect this important amenity."

Issues

Dublin City Council also told the appeals board that the application should be refused due to a number of reasons, including significant biodiversity issues at the site.

Marlet has proposed that 66 of the units go toward social and affordable housing.

A spokesperson for Marlet Property Group said it was "pleased" with An Bord Pleanala's decision.

"At a time of severe housing shortage in Dublin, it opens the way for the provision of 657 badly needed homes, close to the city, served by excellent public transport links," they said.

Last January, developer Pat Crean highlighted the plight of homeless people in the area while the site remains undeveloped.

"While we debate in court whether a goose will fly a little further to eat grass, homeless people are, literally, camping in tents on the perimeter of our site at St Paul's," he told the Herald at the time.


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