A joint venture group involving Irish business magnates JP McManus and John Magnier, and Cork property developer Michael O’Flynn is preparing a masterplan for 860 acres situated between Lucan and Castleknock that they believe could deliver more than 5,000 new homes, a large new public park and other amenities.
Planning consultants for the trio have already engaged in early-stage discussions with South Dublin County Council and Fingal County Council on a plan to develop the extensive landbank, which is currently used mostly for agriculture purposes, The Irish Times has learned.
They hope to secure the green light to develop about 400 acres of the site for housing, with more than 5,000 units envisaged, subject to planning permission. Some 20 per cent of these units would be offered for social and affordable housing.
Under their ambitious plan, about 265 acres would be set aside for a Liffey Valley public park at Edmundsbury, which would be handed over for community use.
This site is subject to a Special Amenity Area Order (SAAO), which means it has been designated as an area of exceptional interest from the point of view of natural, built and cultural heritage, according to Fingal’s website.
The land has been owned for a number of years by Mr McManus, a billionaire Limerick businessman, and Mr Magnier, who owns the Coolmore Stud in Co Tipperary with his family, and includes Luttrellstown Castle and golf course.
In a statement issued to The Irish Times, the O’Flynn Group said: “O’Flynn Group is aware of reports relating to lands in the Liffey Valley corridor which have been subject to a Special Area Amenity Order (SAAO) for many years.
“Our approach to any development will in the first instance be informed by our interaction with both Fingal and South Dublin County Councils in the context of their forthcoming development plans, both of which are currently being drafted. Those plans will, by their nature, involve all interested parties from the area, including landowners, local residents and their elected representatives.
“It would not be appropriate to pre-empt that process, other than to say that it is our intention to discuss with the local authorities how best to deliver on the SAAO and to, after many years, finally deliver a major public park for local residents and the wider community, as well as much needed private, social and affordable housing.”
The planning consultants will step up their engagement with the two local authorities in Dublin in the coming months as they seek to agree a plan to develop the site, which is located about seven kilometres from Dublin city centre.
The consultants hope to have the scheme included in the new development plans being drawn up by both South Dublin and Fingal. This would require rezoning for residential development as the land is mostly used for agricultural purposes, and subsequent planning permission for their plan.
If it comes to fruition, this would provide much-needed housing in a sought-after area of Dublin, close to the city centre. It is understood that it could take up to a decade to develop the site.
The proposed development also has the potential to provide access and services to the neighbouring Shackleton Mill site, a former water-powered flour mill dating back to 1776, which is owned by the Fingal council and has been earmarked for development as a heritage and visitor centre site for many years.
Mr McManus hails from Limerick and has extensive interests in business and horse racing. These include owning the five-star Adare Manor hotel in Limerick, which has been selected to host the Ryder Cup in 2027.
Mr Magnier and his family own the world-famous Coolmore Stud in Co Tipperary. He and Mr McManus have owned the 860 acres in west Dublin for a number of years. This holding includes Lutrellstown Castle and golf course, which hosted the wedding of David Beckham and Victoria Adams in 1999.
Mr O’Flynn was one of the biggest property developers in Ireland before the 2008 crash and successfully emerged from Nama just over seven years ago. His company, the O’Flynn Group, is once again actively building homes at a number of sites in Dublin and Cork.