Planning permission refused for McKillen Jr’s 20-storey tower in Lucan

Objectors described ‘monolithic’ block as a ‘horrific eyesore’ and ‘a blot on the landscape’

An Bord Pleanála has rejected plans by Paddy McKillen Jnr for a "landmark" 20-storey build-to-rent tower block for Lucan in west Dublin.

The board has refused planning on seven grounds to Fox Connect Ltd for the build-to-rent scheme beside the Foxhunter pub at Ballydowd, Lucan.

Paddy McKillen Jnr and Matthew Ryan, who head up the Press Up Hospitality Group, are listed as directors of Fox Connect Ltd.

The board refused permission after widespread opposition to the scheme with 146 submissions lodged with An Bord Pleanála by locals. The refusal upholds a refusal by South Dublin County Council in December 2020.

The 161-unit scheme was made up of four blocks ranging from four to 20 storeys in height, with the highest reaching 66 metres.

Those to object include the Hermitage Park Residents Association, the Ardeevin Residents Association and Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins.

In her objection, Ms Higgins said the plan was “totally out of keeping with the character of the adjacent residential estate”.

Objectors claimed the “monolithic” 20 storey block would be a “horrific eyesore”, “a blot on the landscape” and “a visual nightmare”.

In a submission to the board, the firm claimed the proposal would offer a quality residential development for residents in a low density location.

The company also refuted claims the scheme was overly dominant, intrusive or that it is significantly out of character with the area.

As part of its appeal, Fox Connect offered to reduce the scheme to a 12-storey proposal.


The inspector in the case, Phillippa Joyce, who recommended refusal, concluded the 20-storey tower would be "visually incongruous" at an "outer suburban location" and that the justification for the building height was not substantiated.

Endorsing Ms Joyce’s recommendation, An Bord Pleanála refused permission after concluding that, due to the scheme’s excessive height, bulk, scale and massing, it would be visually obtrusive and would adversely impact on the visual amenity of the site.

The board also stated the scheme would set an undesirable precedent for similar developments in the area. And the board noted that the site was zoned for retail warehousing and that “residential” was not allowed on such sites.

Planning permission was also refused due to traffic concerns.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times