Cairn Homes plans 377 apartments for Stillorgan

Developer looks to move from approved student accommodation proposal to providing build to rent apartments on landmark site

Housebuilder Cairn Homes is seeking permission for more than 370 apartments on a high-profile site previously earmarked for student accommodation.

Cairn owns a site in Stillorgan, Dublin, that formerly held a motor dealers and the once-popular Blake's restaurant.

The company applied to An Bord Pleanála this month for permission to build 377 apartments there that it intends will be rented rather than sold.

Cairn’s application is one of several lodged with the planning board under the fast-track scheme for big residential building projects which closes this month.


The company got permission over four years ago for 548 student bed spaces and 103 apartments on the site but has now decided instead to build apartments there to meet demand for homes in the area.

Cairn’s proposals include plans for a community sports hall, a development sought by local politicians. It will build this on land provided by the council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Its application is for 377 apartments laid out in six blocks ranging from three to nine storeys.

The homes will be a mix of bedsits and one-, two- and three-bedroomed apartments.

Cairn also wants to build shops, restaurants and offices in the proposed Stillorgan development.

The project will include landscaping, car parking, bike spaces and an ESB substation. The company will also install solar panels.

Locals and third parties have until May 12th to make observations to An Bord Pleanála on Cairn’s application. The board must decide on the project by June 2nd.

The fast-track strategic housing initiative allowed builders with plans for 100 or more homes to bypass councils and apply direct to An Bord Pleanála.

The board's decisions cannot be appealed, but are subject to review by the High Court.

Increasing numbers of An Bord Pleanála’s decisions ended up in court as the scheme, based on laws passed in 2017, grew more controversial.

A new system requiring builders of bid housing schemes to apply first to local councils is due to come into force shortly.

Cairn will not comment on the Stillorgan proposal while planners are considering its application.


Local Fine Gael councillor Barry Saul acknowledged that Cairn's plan, along with other projects, including a Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown plan for social and affordable housing, would add about 1,000 to Stillorgan's population.

He welcomed Cairn’s pledge to build a community sports hall as part of the development if An Bord Pleanála approves the plan.

“That was negotiated with the council and the councillors were involved in that.

“It was one of our key objectives. That is something that we are happy with,” Cllr Saul said.

He pointed out that Stillorgan’s leisure centre and a swimming pool had closed in the area, leaving it without key amenities.

Dún Laoghaire plans to build social and affordable homes in Stillorgan, while US business Kennedy Wilson has plans for more than 230 apartments in the area.

Cllr Saul said local representatives were “pushing for as many affordable homes as possible”.

An Bord Pleanála recently gave Cairn Homes permission for 730 apartments at Belmayne Avenue, Parkside, on Dublin’s northside.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas