BUILDERS OF the €300 million redevelopment scheme under way at Greystones harbour in Co Wicklow are to seek increases in the residential and commercial elements of the project.
Sispar, a consortium involving John Sisk and Company and house builders Park Developments, in partnership with Wicklow County Council, is proposing to increase the number of new homes in the scheme from 341 to 375.
It also proposes to increase the commercial area to 6,425sq m – an addition of about 800sq m. Car parking at the €300 million redevelopment project is to be increased from 953 spaces to 1002.
Because of the involvement of Wicklow County Council the application is be decided by Wicklow county councillors under Part VIII of the Planning and Development Act, which does not provide for an appeal against the local authority’s decision.
Sispar had initially sought planning permission for 375 homes, the maximum allowed under the County Development Plan. But this was reduced by An Bord Pleanála to 341 in a move designed to reduce the bulk of the new homes at the front of the project and create a larger civic square.
Sispar said the use of Part VIII of the Planning and Development Act was not a move to undermine the planning board’s decision. Spokesman Paraic Keogh said the board’s decision had been designed to create a civic square and this would be retained in the project. The additional apartments would be located to the rear of the development, on part of a site reserved for a 16-acre park. The move would utilise about three acres of the park.
The commercial changes proposed include the redesignation of most of a block of apartments known as “block D” fronting on to the civic square, for commercial purposes.
This increased commercial space would then be used for a primary care, medical centre. Mr Keogh said a deal had already been agreed with healthcare company Meret, which had an agreement with the HSE.
Wicklow County Council director of services Seán Quirke said the application would be the subject of four weeks of public consultation, followed by two weeks for objections.
The decision would ultimately be made by a vote of elected councillors and there was no provision in Part VIII of the Planning Act to appeal the decision either to the council or to the planning board.
The application to reconfigure block D is to be made next week, followed in July by the application to change the number of new homes. Work on the existing harbour walls is due to be completed by this October.
Should planning permission be granted, work will then get under way on the development of the reconfigured block D, car parking and the civic square.
Work would also continue on the provision of facilities for local clubs.
By the end of 2011 hoardings opposite the Beach House pub and Bayswater Terrace would come down and the public would have access to the square and the waterfront.
No date for the start or completion of the housing elements of the plan was given.
According to Mr Keogh the application to vary the development represented a firm commitment to complete the project. “Sispar are prepared to finish with this subject to achieving the necessary amendments,” the company said.
The alternative is that the harbour walls would be completed with an unfinished public square and routes through the site to the sea for boat users, the developers said.