AN BORD Pleanála has granted permission for more than 600 apartments and houses on the site of the former Dún Laoghaire Golf Club against the recommendation of its senior planning inspector.
The scheme of 28 houses and 577 apartments of up to seven storeys in height is the second phase of a 1,500- strong residential development on the 78-acre site bought by Cosgrave Developments eight years ago.
The board’s senior planning inspector, Dermot Kelly, who dealt with the case, had recommended against granting permission for the 605 units but his recommendation was overruled by the board.
In his report Mr Kelly had said the development should not go ahead because of the scale, height and density of the apartments proposed. He also cited concerns in relation to “project-splitting” and the decision of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to allow the scheme before a new local development plan could be prepared for the area.
The large proportion of apartments planned – more than 95 per cent of the scheme – constituted an “excessive concentration of apartments” on the site, Mr Kelly said.
The height and scale of the apartments were excessive and would result in overdevelopment of the site, and the large number of small apartments – 80 per cent of the units are either one or two-bedroom apartments – was “inappropriate” for the area, he said.
There was a proposed “Phase IIB” of 304 units on lands which were also within the site. Separating these applications constituted a form of project splitting which would constitute “unacceptable piecemeal development”, he said.
He also noted that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council intended to produce a local area plan for this part of the town, and that allowing this scheme in advance of this statutory plan being agreed by the council would be premature.
In deciding to reject Mr Kelly’s recommendation, the board said the proposed development was in line with the current zoning objectives and adhered to sustainability guidelines.
The need for efficient use of land justified a higher density of development at this location, and the high proportion of apartments in this phase of the development was considered acceptable, the board said.
The height of the proposed development was also “generally acceptable”.
The site was controversially rezoned for residential development by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2004 following the intervention of the then environment minister Martin Cullen.
Mr Cullen had used his powers under the 2000 Planning Act to direct the council to rezone more land for housing on foot of a recommendation by the then county manager, Derek Brady, who said county councillors had created a development plan which was “deficient” in meeting its housing objectives. The rezoning was strongly opposed by Dún Laoghaire residents and was only passed by a majority of one vote by the council.
Construction of the first phase of the scheme, some 848 apartments and houses began last year, and the first five houses are due to go on sale next month.