Kerry County Council defers decision on 35 apartments in Dingle

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Declan Malone and Joan MaguireKerryman

Kerry County Council planners have deferred making a decision on an application for permission to build a block of 35 apartments on the Spa Road while they await the developer’s response to a number of issues relating to the design and layout of the project.

In a letter sent last week to the developer, Michael O’Malley, council planners said they have serious concerns about the height, scale and design of the proposed development, on a site that is “an important focal point on the main entrance to Dingle town from the Conor Pass Road”, and they advise that it should be amended “to better integrate with the surrounding area” in order to avoid a refusal of the application.

The planning application, which was submitted in January by Declan Noonan & Associates on behalf of Michael O’Malley, is for 20 one-bedroom apartments, 14 two-bedroom apartments, and one three-bedroom apartments on a 0.264 hectare site at the rear of the Bridge House.

The proposed development is designed as five modern, three and four storey apartment blocks arranged in an ‘L’ shape around the corner of the Spa Road and extending as far as the entrance to Muiris Dan’s yard on the relief road.

The developers have said the apartments would provide accommodation for up to 100 people and are intended to be permanent residences, attracting a variety of uses from single occupancy to couples, families and elderly people.

Kerry County Council is now seeking further information on their plans and has highlighted several issues with the proposed development. Some of the key issues raised by council planners relate to the size and design of the development and they warn that: “The Design Statement submitted [with the planning application] does not justify the contemporary design, and the three to four-storey height, relative to the immediate area and relative to the close proximity to Dingle traditional town centre”.

Planners added that the proposed development has an unacceptable proportion of one-bedroom apartments, and fails to meet the minimum standards for public open space.

The council outlines a number of concerns relating to traffic safety, particularly in relation to the site entrance onto the Spa Road and, and they have asked the developers to provide more detailed drawings for the entrance and to carry out a road safety audit for the entire site, including its junctions with John Street and the Relief Road.

The developers have also been instructed to carry out an ‘aquatic impact’ assessment of the likely impact of the development on the Mall River and council planners added that a riverside footpath would need to be provided from the Relief road to the Small Bridge, on the Bridge House side of the river.

The council’s planning inspector also points out that the proposed development site overlaps the Bridge House site where planning permission for a pub and four apartments was granted last August. “With an overlap only one development permitted could be taken up, rendering the other development null and void,” the planning inspector states adding that the overlap will have to be addressed if it is intended to go ahead with the pub/apartments plan for Bridge House.

Declan Noonan and Associates, representing Michael O’Malley, have six months to respond to the council’s request for further information. If they fail to respond within that time the application will be deemed to have been withdrawn.

This writer was among a number of local residents and statutory bodies who submitted observations to Kerry County Council on the proposed development.