Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has recommended a comprehensive planning refusal against the €466m 881 unit apartment scheme that property giant Hammerson is proposing to build in Dundrum.
The controversial 'fast track' scheme by subsidiary of UK property giant, Hammerson, Dundrum Retail GP DAC’s proposal includes a ‘landmark’ 16 storey high apartment block at the northernmost point of the site.
The scheme is facing widespread local opposition with eight residents’ associations and one primary school amongst the 705 objections to the planned Strategic Housing Development (SHD).
Underling the depth of local feeling against the scheme, local residents have variously described the scheme in objections as ‘appalling’, ‘destructive’, ‘a visual catastrophe’, ‘a vertical sprawl’, ‘an eyesore', ‘a concrete jungle’, ‘monstrous’ and ‘a developer’s dream’.
The scheme comprises 11 blocks across four ‘zones’ and is made up of 335 one bed apartments; 85 two-bed three-person apartments; 379 two-bed four-person apartments and 82 three-bed apartments.
Now, in a major boost to objectors’ opposition against the scheme, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has recommended a planning refusal to An Bord Pleanála across a host of headings.
The recommended grounds of refusal in the 126 page chief executive’s report echo many of the points of objection made by local residents.
The report recommends refusal under the headings of 'zoning and land use’; ‘flood risk’, ‘building design and architectural impact’, ‘community infrastructure’; ‘quality of residential development’ and 'transportation and movement’.
The council has recommended refusal due to the low quantum of non-resident uses and contend that the scheme could result in a major town centre with substandard provision of services with negative repercussions for the wider area.
The Council also point out that the proposed scheme makes no provision for employment intensive uses on the site and accordingly contravenes the local development plan.
The Council also state that the proposed development would result in unacceptable levels of overlooking at multiple locations within the scheme resulting in very poor residential amenity for future developments.
On the height of the scheme, the Council planners state that the heights do not successfully integrate into the character and public realm of Main Street and fail to make a positive contribution to that street.
The Council planners also state that the proposed development provides for an excessive number of studios and one bedroom units and an insufficient number of three bedroom units.
Specifically the Council states that with only 82 three bed units proposed - less than 10% of the total number - the proposed development does not provide an acceptable mix of larger flexible units to ensure balanced, sustainable communities in Dundrum.
The local authority also recommended refusal after stating that the proposed development fails to address the need for the provision of a future Dundrum Community, Cultural and Civic Centre facility.
The Council also state that the applicants have not justified the extent of the proposed demolition of buildings to make way for the scheme.
Local authorities can recommend suggested planning conditions in the event of An Bord Pleanála granting planning permission.
However, in its report, the Council state that it would not be appropriate to specify conditions given that some of the recommended reasons for refusal relate to fundamental development principles that cannot be addressed via condition.
Chair of the Kilternan Glenamuck Residents Association, Aileen Eglington has told the appeals board "it is wrong that a developer can dictate how a full. village is developed. Whilst we all recognise that we must have housing for current need, this development is not the answer".
In his objection, local resident, Liam Shorten has told the board: "I find this proposed scheme appalling, and destructive of the essential character of this area."
Local resident, Lorcan Cosgrove has described the scheme as "a visual catastrophe" while Maire Donovan claims that the scheme will "completely destroy the character of village".
The designers of the scheme state that the vision is to deliver a contemporary and vibrant place to live, underpinned by the re-establishment of the traditional shopping thoroughfare along Dundrum Main Street.
A decision is due on the application by An Bord Pleanála in July.