Goldman Sachs secures planning permission for Blanchardstown scheme

Project envisages 971 apartment on retail site despite strong opposition

Goldman Sachs, owner of the Blanchardstown Town Centre, has secured planning permission for its €450 million, 971-unit apartment scheme at the retail site.

Fingal County Council granted a 10-year planning permission to Blanche Retail Nominee Ltd despite the strong opposition of a number of well-known retail brands who operate from the centre.

The Goldman Sachs tenants opposed to the scheme for the white car park site include Smyth’s Toys, Elvery’s, Lifestyle Sports, Harvey Norman, Homestore & More, Woodies DIY and TK Maxx.

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The mixed-use scheme comprises seven apartment blocks with one rising to 16 storeys in height and also includes seven commercial units.

As part of the plan, the applicants are proposing to sell 97 units for social housing to Fingal County Council for €44.9 million.

Retail brands objecting contend that the scheme would negatively impact on their trade and a number have hit out at the absence of prior consultation with them over the plan.

Head of sustainability, property and LP at Lifestyle Sports, Muriel O’Keeffe told the council that “Lifestyle Sports received no prior consultation or warning about the proposal”.

Ms O’Keeffe said: “We were first alerted to the planning application when the public notices were placed on site. To exacerbate matters, we were shocked to learn that the proposal will result in a significant loss of customer parking.

“We have met with other occupiers of the retail park. We are united in our concerns with the proposal and disappointed that no prior consultation was undertaken with us by the landlord.”

The council has granted planning permission after concluding that the scheme would contribute to consolidating Blanchardstown Town Centre and provide residential development close to existing services and facilities.

Planning consultant for the scheme, John Spain told the council that the proposal “will provide much needed residential accommodation” and the site is considered suitable for the density, scale, massing and design of the development proposed.

However, in the Lifestyle Sports objection, Ms O’Keeffe said that there would be an overall reduction of 525 retail car parking spaces post development and said “our customers will simply go elsewhere should there be such a significant reduction in car parking at the application site”.

Echoing the views of other retailers, director at Homestore & More, Tristian Geoghegan told the council that the proposal “would give rise to a deleterious impact on trade and the ability to operate the retail outlets at their present level”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times