A COMPANY half-owned by heavily-indebted property developer Bernard McNamara has been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála to build a cinema complex and bowling alley in Dundrum, Co Dublin.
Cicol Ltd, which Mr McNamara jointly owns with property investor brothers Ciarán and Colum Butler, had appealed against Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s decision to reject their plans to develop a site known as Dudley’s Field.
The 3.4-acre field, which adjoins the Airfield Estate urban farm, had been purchased by Cicol in 2005 for more than €16 million from the Airfield Trust, which runs the farm, and successive plans to develop it were opposed by the Friends of Airfield group.
The group, which is dedicated to “cherishing a piece of the countryside in the middle of Dundrum”, has welcomed the board’s rejection of the proposed bowling alley and cinema complex on the grounds they would “seriously injure the amenities of the area”.
This is the second such refusal by the appeals board for the development of Dudley’s Field, which is zoned for “Objective F: open space and recreational amenities”. The earlier decision by the board in 2007 was unsuccessfully challenged by Cicol in the High Court.
Delivering judgment in May 2008, Ms Justice Irvine said the development proposed was far in excess of what an intelligent person would interpret as being permitted under the “F” zoning objective. She also referred to a separate local objective to protect Airfield Estate.
Friends of Airfield, in their submission on the latest plan, said they believed it would “entail a massive change of use for the area concerned and have significant negative impacts on the adjoining Airfield Estate, as well as surrounding residential areas”.
The board, in its ruling on Cicol’s appeal, said it did not agree with the view of the inspector who dealt with the case that a cinema would come within the category of uses permitted or open for consideration as a “cultural building” in the zoning context.