Permission refused for co-living scheme beside Dublin Victorian fruit market

An Bord Pleanála concerned over impact on protected structures

A parish priest and a Dublin primary school have emerged victorious in opposing ‘fast-track’ plans for a 14-storey, 506-bed space shared co-living scheme beside Dublin’s Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market in the north inner city.

An Bord Pleanála ruled that the planned four-block development comprising 360 co-living units opposite the fruit market facing on to Halston Square would seriously detract from six different protected structures in the area.

The development plan from Fruitmarket Partnership includes an eight-storey block beside the historic St Michan’s church and some of the affected protected structures listed by the appeals board in its refusal include St Michan’s church, the fruit and vegetable market on Mary’s Lane; Green Street courthouse and the debtors’ prison, also on Green Street.


As part of her 88-page report, inspector Karen Kenny also recommended that planning be refused after finding that the qualitative provision of communal kitchen and living areas in block D would fail to provide an acceptable living environment for future occupants.


However, the board refused permission only on the grounds of the impact on the protected structures in the area and that it would seriously injure the visual amenities of the area.

The appeals board refused planning permission for the scheme after Dublin City Council planners recommended refusal across a raft of headings.

In an objection lodged on behalf of Father Martin Bennett, Fitzgerald Kavanagh + Partners argued that the scale of the development was “incongruous” and also raised concerns over the impact of the development on St Michan’s church – built between 1810 and 1815 – which was the first parish chapel recorded in the city in Penal times.

Fitzgerald Kavanagh + Partners also lodged an objection on behalf of the Presentation school at Halston Street, which has been educating children in the area for 250 years.

The objection said that the close proximity of the 14-storey building “is incompatible with the site’s location next to a primary school”.

“There are worrying implications for privacy, child protection and safeguarding which need to be addressed.”


An Taisce objected to the plan too, while former environment editor of The Irish Times, Frank McDonald, also lodged an objection.

“If there was to be a contest for the prime example of developer-led ‘planning’ in Dublin, this audacious and utterly outrageous proposal would win it hands down, ” he said.

Mr McDonald said he felt sick in the pit of his stomach when seeing the ‘visualisations’ for the scheme for the first time.

Former lord mayor of Dublin Cllr Niall Ring also submitted an objection.

Planning documentation lodged with the application stated that the development would support public investment in the city core in “a best-in-class” format for shared accommodation.

The documentation stated that the scheme would have a positive impact on the markets area, providing high-quality shared accommodation.

The developers said the proposal could provide an economic dividend of up to €41.6 million in spending for the local economy over a 10-year period.

The documentation also said stated that the proposal could provide 482 direct and indirect jobs.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times