Monday 18 February 2008

PLANS to build social and affordable apartments in an exclusive area of Dublin 4 have hit a major stumbling block following cross-party objections fro

Two of the four TDs for Dublin South East have denied they object to social and affordable housing in Sandymount after they opposed plans by developer Sean Dunne for the provision of 15 apartments in the area.

Fianna Fáil's Chris Andrews and Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton both said they had no objection in principle to having more social and affordable homes in Sandymount, but were concerned about the height of a proposed four-storey development

A planning application for the four-storey infill scheme at the rear of the Winfield car showrooms on Church Avenue has been lodged by developer Sean Dunne, who is awaiting planning permission for a mixed-use development with a 37-storey tower at the Jurys/Berkeley Court site in Ballsbridge.

Mr Dunne has undertaken to provide up to 80 social and affordable homes within the Dublin southeast region, depending on the number of apartments eventually approved for the hotel sites.

The planning application seeks permission for his first scheme of social and affordable homes on the site of a vacant, detached bungalow and a former community hall on the south side of Church Avenue.

Twelve of the apartments will be two-bedroom homes, there will be one three-bedroom unit, a one-bedroom home with a study and another apartment with a single bedroom.

The proposed three-storey block with one storey set back will have a basement car park and a landscaped open space at ground-floor level, including a children's play area.

Objections to the development have been lodged by not only Mr Andrews and Ms Creighton but also by councillors John Kenny (PD) and Paddy McCartan (Fine Gael). The Sandyford and Merrion Residents' Association is also opposing the apartment scheme.

Mr Andrews said not only was he not opposed to the provision of social and affordable homes in Sandymount but he would welcome more of these units in the area. He was more concerned about "the tightness of the space" on the Church Avenue site and local residents had a right to express their concern. "There are very few planning applications that are not altered in some way."

Mr Andrews's letter of objection to the planning application said the proposed scheme was out of scale with existing buildings in the area, would "diminish residential amenities" and would set a bad precedent for the conservation of urban villages.

Asked whether she was opposed to the plan to develop social and affordable housing in Sandymount, Ms Creighton said "absolutely not" . Families in Sandymount would prefer to see their children getting a home locally rather than having to move out to places such as Clondalkin.

She said some families living beside the Sandymount site were concerned about their homes being overlooked and wanted the proposed development reduced in height.

Ms Creighton's written objection claimed that the apartment block would "overlook and overshadow" the houses and gardens of neighbouring properties "and will have a visual impact on the residents". The extra traffic would put further pressure on the already overloaded network.

The residents' association said the development was out of character with the surroundings in terms of height, density, scale, design and materials used. It would also exacerbate traffic problems. In other areas of Dublin the surrounding properties in Church Avenue and Tritonville Road would be considered worthy of preservation by reason of their architectural surroundings.

The Irish Times

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