Council rejects Bulloch Harbour redevelopment plan

Pat Kenny among residents to object to Bartra mixed-use scheme plan for Dalkey site

Broadcaster Pat Kenny and local residents have emerged victorious in the latest round of the battle to prevent a contentious redevelopment plan for Bulloch Harbour near Dalkey in south Co Dublin.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has refused planning permission to Richard Barrett’s Bartra Property (Dublin) Ltd for a mixed-use scheme for the harbour.

Newstalk presenter Pat Kenny is the most prominent opponent of the scheme. In a joint submission with his wife, Kathy Kenny, he had urged the council to refuse planning permission, claiming that the development would change Bulloch Harbour's "welcoming ambience utterly, forever".

The scheme for the former Western Marine Building at the harbour sought the demolition and clearance of the existing industrial single-storey warehouses and sheds.

The proposal also included the construction of a three-storey building incorporating a cafe and one four-bedroom apartment, a single-storey seafood sales outlet, four fishermen’s huts, a new public square and three three-storey detached houses.

More than 140 objections were lodged against the scheme, including submissions from the Dalkey Community Council, Dublin Port Company and Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association.

Refusal

The council’s grounds of refusal include flood risk, which did not feature in the previous planning refusal for a Bartra scheme at the harbour in February 2018.

An 80-page planners’ report pointed out that the proposed development is located in an area which has been identified as potentially liable to flood events and significant wave overtopping, and that the proposed development has not included adequate measures to minimise flood risk.

The council found that the almost exclusive use of the majority of the site area for residential use would seriously erode and weaken the existing land use zoning objective for the site of providing for waterfront, marine and harbour-related uses.

The scheme fails therefore to respond appropriately to the unique site context, which requires a high-quality, distinctive and integrated mixed-use design approach, it concluded.

‘Common sense’

On Thursday, Pat and Kathy Kenny welcomed the council's decision to refuse planning permission. In a joint statement, they said the decision "reflects a common-sense approach, as had been advocated by many of the objectors. Hopefully, if it is appealed to An Bord Pleanála, the board will concur with the council's conclusions."

The Kennys said the council’s refusal “might serve as a timely warning to those who buy difficult sites on spec and attempt to get planning for inappropriate development”.

The council previously refused planning permission for a substantially similar application in 2018.

An Bord Pleanála granted permission on appeal by Bartra and this decision was quashed by the High Court on consent in September 2020 following a local residents’ challenge that the Kennys supported.

Bartra now has the option of appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.  A spokesman for Bartra declined to comment on the council’s decision.