Proposal to build 420 homes in Dublin faces potential delay

Cairn Homes project in Newcastle unlikely to get permission in its current form

Proposals for 420 new homes face a potential delay after planners have told the builder, Cairn Homes, that it would be unlikely to get permission for the development in its current form.

Listed house builder Cairn Homes last November began consulting with An Bord Pleanála on a proposal to build 420 houses in Newcastle, Co Dublin, under the fast-track planning system for large residential developments.

An Bord Pleanála recently ruled that the plan required further consideration or amendment before Cairn could go ahead and apply for permission to build the dwellings, potentially delaying the development.

According to a board spokesman, the ruling “requires further consideration/amendment” means “the development as proposed would not have a reasonable chance of succeeding” in its current form.


The board’s decision is not a refusal, as Cairn has not reached that stage in the planning process.

Instead, planners have raised specific concerns about the proposed development with the company that it must tackle before going ahead and applying for planning permission.

An Bord Pleanála cannot say what the concerns are at this stage of the planning process. Details of the proposal will be published once the company applies for permission.

Frequently clash

Builders and planners frequently clash over the number of homes in individual applications, although it is not known if that is amongst the issues raised here.

Cairn does not comment projects that are going through any part of the planning process. “Cairn will submit a formal application in due course,” the company said.

It is believed that the business, led by chief executive, Michael Stanley, does not fear that An Bord Pleanála's response will seriously delay the Newcastle project.

The Dublin-listed company proposes to demolish some existing structures on the site in Newcastle South and Ballynakelly to the west of the capital and build 420 homes, a school, childcare facility and shops.

The scale of the Newcastle plan means it qualifies as a strategic housing development, which allows Cairn to apply for permission to build direct to An Bord Pleanála instead of the local authority, in this case South Dublin County Council.

This requires Cairn to consult with the planning board before making the application. The company began those consultations in November and An Bord Pleanála made its decision in recent weeks.

Once the company seeks planning permission, An Bord Pleanála has up to 16 weeks to allow or block the proposal. Its decision is final, but it is open to any interested party to ask a High Court to review it.

Opponents of several strategic housing developments allowed elsewhere in the capital have recently sought such reviews.

Dublin- and London-listed Cairn sold 800 homes in 2018 and could reach 1,000 or so this year. The company aims to build 1,500 houses and apartments a year from 2021.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas