Planning refused for 12-storey apartment block in Donnybrook

Development ‘one of highest numbers of units anywhere in world’, says councillor

Planning permission has been refused for a high-rise apartment development near the centre of Donnybrook village in Dublin, which a local Fianna Fáil councillor claimed had a higher density than buildings in central New York.

Dublin City Council cited the excessive height of the building as its main reason for rejecting an application by development firm Red Rock for permission to construct a 12-storey, build-to-rent apartment complex on the site of the existing Circle K petrol station on Donnybrook Road.

The 0.11 hectare site is directly across the road from the Energia Park rugby stadium.

The plans provided for 84 residential units, with a cafe and retail unit at ground floor, as well as a residents’ lounge, communal terraces on several floors, games room, co-working space, library, cinema room and concierge services.


However council planners claimed the design of the building, at almost 40m in height, would constitute over-development and would have “an unreasonable overbearing, overshadowing and overlooking effect on adjoining sites”.

“The proposed development with its unjustifiable height and density fails to integrate or be compatible with the village of Donnybrook,” the council said.

A planners’ report showed the plot ratio for the site was over four times the recommended level. It claimed the apartment scheme would seriously injure the visual amenities of the streetscape as well as having an adverse impact on the character of the area.

Red Rock had claimed that the development had “the potential to provide a landmark gateway building on entering the city from the south” and would introduce “a new contemporary urban quality to this part of Donnybrook”.

Transport issue

The council said the development would also represent a traffic hazard given its location on a Quality Bus Corridor and that it would generate overspill parking on roads in the area which could obstruct pedestrians, bus operations and other road users. They also found the development could negatively impact on a key bus corridor route planned under the National Transport Authority’s BusConnects programme.

In addition, the council expressed concern that the loss of the Circle K outlet could leave the area with insufficient service stations.

In a submission, Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Conroy said the development would have provided a block of "non-affordable, non-purchasable homes", more suited to a dockland site than an historic village.

At a density of 763 units per hectare, Ms Conroy said it was “one of the highest numbers of units anywhere in the world” and compared it to the average of 232 units per hectare in parts of Fifth Avenue in New York.

Numerous objections were also submitted from members of Donnybrook Tennis Club who claimed the building would overlook their grounds and radically alter the amenity of the club. One of the club’s trustees said the application represented “one of the highest density residential proposals ever to be lodged for an inner suburban site in Dublin” and “exceeds the average densities of Manhattan”.

The site has been the subject of a series of unsuccessful attempts to build apartment developments over the past 20 years.