An Bord Pleanála delays decision on plan for 881 apartments at old Dundrum shopping centre

Hammerson subsidiary is seeking permission to build scheme in the south Dublin village amid strong local opposition

An Bord Pleanála has deferred making a decision on contentious plans for a €466 million, 881-unit apartment scheme that a subsidiary of British property giant Hammerson is proposing to build in Dundrum.

The appeals board was due to make a decision on the strategic development housing (SHD) scheme on Monday. However, the board last week wrote to parties to inform them that “unfortunately, it has not been possible to determine this case within the statutory period”.

A subsidiary of Hammerson, Dundrum Retail GP, had lodged plans for the scheme on April 5th for the site of the old Dublin shopping centre, which included a “landmark” 16-storey apartment block on April 5th.

Planning law provides for the appeals board to issue a decision 16 weeks after plans have been lodged.


However, the board has missed that deadline. “The delay in determining the application is regretted. The board will take all such steps as are open to it to ensure that the application is determined as soon as possible,” its letter stated.

The Dundrum scheme was one of 12 SHD decisions due for decision today.

The board deferred decisions relating to all the cases – which comprise 5,108 residential units – as it struggles to meet the timelines laid down by the SHD legislation.

The board has also deferred a decision on plans by the Land Development Agency for 977 residential units at the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum.

The letter concerning the Hammerson case – in common with the letter deferring the LDA scheme for the Central Mental Hospital – does not include a revised target decision date.

In the case of the Hammerson scheme, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council had recommended a comprehensive planning refusal. The scheme also faced widespread local opposition with eight residents’ associations and one primary school among the 705 objections to the planned SHD.

Underlining the depth of local feeling against the plan, 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 proposed scheme would comprise 11 blocks across four zones and is made up of 335 one-bedroom apartments, 464 two-bedroom units and 82 three-bedroom apartments.

Among other things, the council recommended refusal due to the low quantum of non-resident uses and contended that the scheme could result in a major town centre with substandard provision of services with negative repercussions for the wider area.

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.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times