Friday 20 February 2009

Rezoning of Blackrock home 'would hit shopping centres'

DÚN LAOGHAIRE Business Association has expressed concern that a submission by businessman John Reihill to rezone lands at his 19th century listed mansion, Deepwell, in Blackrock, Co Dublin would damage existing shopping areas in the county.

Reihill, who is best known for his involvement in his family business, fuel importer and distributor Tedcastles, made the submission for consideration under the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s draft development plan revision for 2010-2016.

The site at Deepwell is bounded by Blackrock Dart station and adjoins Blackrock Park. Blackrock shopping centre is to the south and Frascati shopping centre on the far side of the Blackrock bypass. Reihill is looking to change the zoning of the lands from Objective A “to protect and improve residential amenity” to objective DC “to protect, provide for and/or improve district centre facilities”.

In the proposal for rezoning to the council, submitted by town planner Tom Phillips and Associates, he says the Deepwell lands are recognised “as constituting one of the last remaining significant brownfield sites within Blackrock village”. The submission goes on to say that the rezoning of these lands offers “significant potential to enhance the overall land use mix at this strategic location at the entrance to the village”. It also appeals to the council that a protected structure on the lands “should not preclude the proposed rezoning”.

But, in a letter circulated to elected representatives in the area, Dún Laoghaire Business Association is saying that shopping areas within Dún Laoghaire Rathdown “are already under economic pressure and would be further damaged should this rezoning occur”. It estimates that the lands in question are approximately the same size as Superquinn shopping centre in Blackrock “and therefore would have a negative effect on all existing shopping centres within the county”.

Reihill’s proposal, however, points to another project the council is trying to get off the ground. Reihill’s submission says that following discussions with the Parks Department “it was agreed that the subject lands offer significant potential in the enhancement of linkages with Blackrock Park, through the progression of the Blackrock Park masterplan”.

Although the site has been occupied since the 1740s, the house at Deepwell, a protected structure on 2.6 acres, was built 100 years later. Its name was changed from Fairy Hill and the walled garden was introduced by Richard S Guinness in 1842. It now has Italianate gardens, a temple and herb garden. It’s open to the public at certain times.

Irish Times

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