Plans to restart Adamstown approved by An Bord Pleanála

House density must stay the same in Dublin suburb as ‘excessive’ reductions blocked

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD at a special ceremony to mark the commencement of construction at Adamstown in west Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Plans to kickstart the stalled construction of the west Dublin suburb of Adamstown have been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

However, the board has blocked South Dublin County Council from implementing what it says were "excessive" reductions in housing density to Adamstown.

The council wanted to lower the density of development in Adamstown by 20 per cent to allow the construction of more houses in response to the “near cessation” of building work in the new suburb. The council proposal could have doubled the proportion of houses to apartments.

The council's plans were appealed to An Bord Pleanála by a number of developers, as well as Independent councillor and former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty.


Adamstown, 16km from Dublin city centre on a 220 hectare site just south of Lucan, is the first new town planned since Shannon, Co Clare in 1982.

Adamstown Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) was created in 2003 with the aim of delivering more than 10,000 homes, schools, shops, community and leisure facilities and public transport.

Ceased building

The county council told a Bord Pleanála hearing last May that fewer than 1,400 homes have been built. Since 2008/2009, the council said, development has “almost ceased”, with fewer than 20 residential units completed in the last four years.

No development has started on the district centre, which was to have a supermarket, library, cinema and healthcare centre, or on the leisure centre and swimming pool.

Planning permission has been granted for nearly 3,250 homes, almost 40 per cent of which were apartments, 32 per cent duplex units and less than 30 per cent houses. However, only 28 per cent of apartments permitted were actually built, compared with almost 50 per cent of houses and 56 per cent of duplexes.

Amending the SDZ to reduce densities by 20 per cent would still deliver 6,655 to 8,145 homes, said the council, but 66 per cent would be houses and the remaining 34 per cent would be apartments and duplex units.

In his appeal, Mr Gogarty said reducing density would not sustain the planned infrastructure, such as frequent trains to the city and leisure facilities for residents. Either the infrastructure would not be delivered or it would be wasted, he said.

The delivery of facilities and infrastructure by developers was dependent on the numbers of housing units built. The council also wanted to amend the SDZ to reduce the number of units needed for facilities to be built and to speed up the infrastructure provision.

Disallow change

Chartridge Developments, which represents three major Adamstown landowners (



Castlethorn Construction

and Maplewood Developments), appealed to the board not to allow this change. It said the council should use development levies already paid to build facilities.

Bord Pleanála has approved much of the council’s proposed changes, but would not approve the lower densities, which would have seen houses only built in several large estates.

“While recognising the current concerns regarding economic conditions, viability of construction and property market preferences,” it said, “the board considered that some of the reductions in density proposed would be excessive.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times