Apartment scheme on former Blackrock College land approved

Bórd Pleanála backs 241-unit development of up to nine storeys under fast-track rules

An Bórd Pleanála has cleared the way for construction of a planned €135 million build-to-rent apartment scheme on former Blackrock College lands.

The board has granted permission for the 241-unit scheme by Lioncor at lands at Cross Avenue on a site adjacent to the private fee-paying school under strategic housing development rules.

The scheme by Lioncor subsidiary, 1 Players Land Ltd, comprises three blocks, with one reaching to nine storeys.

An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission over the recommendation of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council that it be refused on the basis that the scheme will have a detrimental impact on the character of the area due to its scale, height and visual prominence.


Local residents also expressed concern over the scheme.

One of the third parties to express concerns was the rector at St Philips and St James' Church, Rev Canon Gillian Wharton.

“Given the proposed development’s immediate proximity to our grounds and church, we consider the scale and particularly the height of the proposed development will dwarf the church and be problematic for the range of activities undertaken on our campus,” he told the planning board.

The St Margaret's Residents Association had registered its opposition to the scheme while the board of management of Booterstown National School had also raised concerns.

Lioncor purchased the site at Cross Avenue for about €16 million last year from the order responsible for Blackrock College, the Holy Ghost or Spiritan congregation.

The appeals board inspector in the case, Máire Daly, said there was ample justification for a build-to-rent development at the site due to its location “close to employment centres and beside high quality public transport facilities”.


“The proposed residential type and tenure will provide a viable housing solution to households where home-ownership may not be a priority and will provide a greater choice for people in the rental sector,” she said.

She was satisfied that the units would accommodate a range of age cohorts and household types, including those downsizing and freeing up under-occupied larger units in the vicinity, all of which, she said, was appropriate in terms of achieving a sustainable mix of household sizes and types.

Ms Daly concluded the development would not result in any significant adverse impacts on residential amenities or nearby school amenities by way of direct overlooking.

A report lodged by the applicants compared the amenities on offer to international schemes of similar size and said it was “ best in class”. The amenities include a pet wash, a residents’ lounge, a fitness area, a lobby and cafe, and a co-working area.

Planning consultants for the scheme McGill Planning stated that the proposed building height “ensures optimal use of this site at this urban location”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times